Tournament Committee Update

By the time you read this, there will have been a dramatic change in the management at Aylesbury. After twenty-six years Max Bavin is retiring as Chief Tournament Director. The debt that English Bridge owes Max is inestimable. He has certainly been a constant presence in my life since I started playing in tournaments. One of his gifts was that although we all felt we knew him by virtue of his position, he gave the impression that he knew all of us, every last member. Knowledgeable and accessible, he was the ideal man for the job. More tangibly, his international standing is concrete evidence that he knew his stuff, as well. Never patronising, even in private when discussing others and their crimes against bridge society, he was always kindly disposed, finding a good word to say about everyone. He will be much missed.

Salvation, however, is at hand. For the last few years Gordon Rainsford has been working part-time for the EBU, and is now going to take up the reins full-time. Previously manager at the Young Chelsea club in London, where he was integral to the conversion of the club from a slightly dour establishment with a reputation for aggressive members to a place at which it is a pleasure to play, Gordon has also risen rapidly through the ranks of English Tournament Directors. Happily for all of us, he’s the right man at the right time. He has efficiency on his side, he has unflappability, he has expertise and, if push comes to shove, he has Max’s phone number. Please join me in wishing Max a long and happy (semi) retirement, and Gordon good luck in his challenging new role.

There have been changes on the Tournament Committee as well. Long-standing member (and former Chairman) Alan Nelson has stepped down, with our gratitude for his contribution and support over the years. Another former Chairman, Andrew Petrie, announced at the last meeting that he was standing down, because he was a member ex-officio, and was there in his position as EBU Vice-Chairman, which he was about to relinquish. So, I duly thanked him for his contribution at the last meeting and wished him all the best on behalf of the committee. Well, that turned out to be a complete waste of breath, because five minutes later it turned out he was going to be taking over as EBU Treasurer so would be back on the committee ex-officio again. I’ll insist he sits on a different chair, though.

Joining us afresh will be Jeremy Dhondy, ex-offcio as well (he’s become EBU Vice-Chairman) and Gillian Fawcett. Gillian is from Exeter, where she enjoys a busy career in a family business. She is a prolific player and has represented her country on numerous occasions. Married with two children, she regularly travels to London because that’s where her team in the major KO competitions is based. She has described her partner in this team as a complete berk, and holds him largely responsible for the failure of the team to progress beyond the early rounds. I’ve learned not to take this sort of thing personally, and fortunately for the future of the Tournament Committee, we remain on speaking terms.

I’m writing this on the wrong side of a meeting – we have one due mid-November, at which we will try to ensure the future of the events that you know and love, whilst remaining responsive to changing needs and demand.

I’ll keep you posted.

Ian Payn
Chairman, Tournament Committee