Jonathan Mestel

I learned bridge while at school and used to play at what is now Manchester Bridge Club. I remember Paul Hackett opening a weak 2S against me, which struck my tender years as a new-fangled, dangerous and devious ploy.

I played infrequently at university, concentrating more on chess and, very occasionally, Mathematics. I am a grandmaster in both chess and chess-problem solving, and have successfully represented England in both. Although I hardly play chess any more, I'm still objectively better at it than at bridge. But chess can be quite unforgiving - it's as if you do something stupid on board one, and for the next ten boards are repeatedly pseudo-squeezed as a penance. Also, at bridge it's much easier to persuade yourself you're better than you really are - I think most of us do that. Eventually, without partners and unlucky layouts to blame, I was forced to accept my limitations on the chessboard.

My day-to-day work is similar. I'm a professor in applied mathematics at Imperial College London, with a particular interest in fluid dynamics. There are many important applications of this field, but I approach academic research somewhat as a game, and prefer to work on problems I find fun.

As my chess-playing diminished, bridge expanded to fill the gap. I play regularly with Cath Jagger and Paul Barden, but they left me for younger children. Dave Kendrick has been there and done that, and our partnership is renowned for its scientific and careful style, as befits our maturity. Finally, for anyone who knew me two years ago, I should mention that all my hair fell out for no obvious nor serious reason - neither my bidding nor partner's dummies are responsible. Few would argue with that last statement.

Last updated: August 2014

Camrose Trophy Selections: 2014 (EBU team) and 2015

Crockfords Cup winner: 2009 and 2018

The Hubert Phillips Bowl Winner: 2008

Tollemache Cup Winner: 2019 (for Cambs & Hunts)