Article originally published in the Northern Echo 29 December 2011
An accountant has been named the country’s youngest bridge grandmaster.
John Atthey, 26, of Darlington, has been playing bridge since his father taught him the game at the age of ten.
In the 16 years since, he has gone on to win a string of impressive international titles, represent England four times in the European Championships, and Britain three times in the Channel competition and five times in the Junior Channel.
Mr Atthey is an audit senior with North-East accountants Clive Owen & Co LLP in his home town of Darlington. Already within the firm there are other successful players, including Clive Owen and his son, Chris.
Mr Atthey, who paired up with Chris Owen twice in the European Championships where they were named top British pair, has collected more than 120,000 points over the years to be awarded a coveted Grandmaster title.
He is believed to be the only player in his 20s with the title in the country.
Mr Atthey said: “I love the mental challenge of bridge and there’s a good social element to the game which I enjoy.
“There are only 15 grandmasters in the North of England, some of whom have years and years of playing experience, so it’s a real honour to be among them.”
Over the years Mr Atthey has secured an impressive record in international and national competitions including scooping the Tollemache trophy twice, the Gold Cup, the Brighton Swiss Pairs, the Pachabo Cup, the Great Northern Swiss Pairs and the championship teams and pairs at the annual Scottish Congress.
Clive Owen, senior partner of Clive Owen & Co LLP, said: “I am delighted for John. To achieve this level at his age is incredible.
“His commitment and talents deserve this recognition. What’s also impressive about John is his conduct at the bridge table where his table manners are impeccable and a lesson to us all.
“We’re really fortunate to have such a player in our county.
“I am sure he will go on to further success.”
Since this article was published John has added to his successes with wins in the 2013 Grand Masters Pairs, the 2014 Pachabo Cup, and the 2015 Hubert Phillips Bowl.
Last updated: July 2015
Major International Appearances
European Junior Championships: 2002 2004 2005 2009
Junior Camrose Selections: 2006 and 2010
Peggy Bayer Trophy Selections: 2001 2002 2003 and 2005
Brighton Pairs, Harold Poster Cup Winner: 2008
Hubert Phillips Bowl winner: 2015
Tollemache Cup winner: 2007 and 2011