Richard Fleet

I learned to play bridge by watching my parents play with friends over 60 years ago. It was a relatively informal game: since more sophisticated methods of signalling were unknown, the conventions included rubbing one’s chest if a heart lead was wanted.

I first played duplicate at school in 1969 and rapidly became obsessed to the detriment of my academic results. More by luck than anything else I obtained a place at Cambridge where the standard of the university club was remarkably high: over a ten year period in the 1970s, more than 20 of the university players became junior or senior internationals.

I emerged from Cambridge with a very moderate degree and no idea of what I wanted to do. I accepted the first job offer that was made to me and started work in a tax office in 1975. I remained a tax professional for the whole of my career though combining it with pensions for the last 22 years. I retired from full-time work shortly after my 60th birthday at the end of 2013 though remain a part-time pension scheme trustee.

I envisaged my retirement project as writing a history of bridge.  This turned out to be far too ambitious and I in fact wrote a more modest work, the history of English tournament bridge during the period from 1925 to 1945, and this has been available on the EBU website for several years.  Although I do not rule out writing a further instalment, I have no plans to do so.  I have also written my memoirs, though these are not publicly available.

At one stage I competed in a lot of bridge tournaments and even managed to win some of them, including the Brighton Teams, Crockfords Cup, Hubert Phillips Bowl and Spring Foursomes. I represented Great Britain at junior international level on three occasions and played in eight Camrose matches. I am now retired from tournament bridge though I have latterly played a little club bridge in East Devon.

Over the years I have been heavily involved in bridge administration, having served for lengthy periods on the London Committee, including ten years as Chairman, and the EBU Laws & Ethics and Selection Committees.

Finally, I have served as an international non-playing captain on about 30 occasions, the most recent one being the England team for the second Camrose weekend in 2016.  Since I have been the official system reviewer for Bridge Great Britain for the past three years, I have informed the EBU Selection Committee that I am no longer available to act as NPC in the home internationals.

Last updated: May 2023

Richard’s work on 'Tournament Bridge in England: 1925-1945' was published in autumn 2016.

Silver Award citation, 2017

Richard has served on numerous committees throughout his bridge administration 'career'.

He has sat on the EBU Selection Committee from 1982 to 2006 (with only one year off in the mid-1990s), five of those years as Chairman. He has also served on the Laws & Ethics Committee for a total of 14 years from 1981 up to and including the current committee. He has also served on the EBU Constitutional Commission and was a member of the Conventions Working Party.

In addition to his work with the EBU, Richard has served on the committee of the London Metropolitan Bridge Association for 20 years, with ten of those as Chairman).

In 2016 Richard wrote a comprehensive book, 'Tournament Bridge in England: 1925-1945', which he donated to the EBU.