My father, Roy Smith, was a keen tournament player, so I began playing bridge at school in the 70s and then at Oxford (initially with Barry Rigal), playing in 4 varsity matches and captaining the team once. Meanwhile, I wrote a doctorate on suspense in the English novel. Academic jobs proved hard to come by, so I trained as a teacher and turned to educational publishing in 1987, founding Oxford Open Learning and, latterly, Oxford Home Schooling.
At the table, I've won 50-odd county titles and the occasional national one, on the way to becoming a Grand Master. Most recent successes have been in partnership with Alan Wilson, playing our own 2-way club system. But I'm probably better known as a bridge writer. Bridge Literature (1993) was my first book, a set of parodies of well-known works of Eng Lit. More Bridge Literature (2020) sends up a few more cherished texts and includes possibly the hardest single-dummy problems ever published. But so does Bridge and the Romantics (2019), a fictitious account of the card-playing exploits and tangled love-lives of Shelley, Byron & co. Bridge Behind Bars (2009) was co-written with Julian Pottage. I've also written one conventional novel (Drowned Hogg Day, 2017) and numerous plays.
I served as an England selector for 5 years. I've been married to Amanda for 27 years and we have two grown-up children. I also enjoy taking part in TV quizzes (Mastermind, Countdown, etc), captaining teams of bridge players on Only Connect and Eggheads where the 'Five Diamonds' team won £11K.
Teltscher Trophy Selections: 2021 (EBU team)