2022 – Black

(L-R) Andrew McIntosh, Simon Hult, Gunnar Hallberg, David Gold, Andrew Black, Tom Paske

Andrew Black is 58 and lives on his stud farm in Cobham with wife Jane, four children and two huge dogs. He has been playing bridge since his school days having graduated from the local whist drive run by his grandparents. This is the only thing he graduated from; he was thrown out of university for spending all his time in the bookies. Fortunately, this paid dividends in later life when his internet creation, Betfair, propelled him from geek to guru overnight. Despite having played rubber bridge for a living for a while in the 1990s Andrew barely played at all in the ‘Betfair years’, but returned to the game in 2011 and put his team together. Team Black made it to the final of the European Winter Games in 2016, beating Lavazza in the semi and losing to Monaco in the final. They won the Gold Cup in 2017 and, as England, came third in the Champions Cup in 2018.

David Gold is a bridge professional and one of very few players to have played for the England Open Team while still a junior. He started his career in the sports world as a top junior chess player going on to learn bridge at school aged about 16. David has numerous domestic titles on his bridge CV and was the winner of the inaugural Player of the Year Championship for the 2014/15 season. See David’s EBU profile.

He and Tom Townsend were one of England’s leading pairs for 10 years. Their best result was in Beijing, 2008 where England won the silver medal in the mind sports games. David has since formed partnerships with Tony Forrester and David Bakhshi and has represented England with them many times in the European Championships (winning a bronze medal in 2014), Bermuda Bowl and World Olympiad.

Gunnar Hallberg started his bridge life as a Swede and was a regular on their national team during the 1980’s. He was 6 times Swedish teams champion, Nordic champion and European silver medalist. He moved to England to play bridge professionally in 1995 – and is still an even more unpopular opponent in London’s rubber clubs than on the tournament scene. A losing semi-finalist for England in the 2000 World Olympiad, he has won the Cavendish (teams), the Australian championships and North America’s prestigious Vanderbilt trophy (becoming the first Brit ever to do so). In the Summer of 2009, Gunnar reached the final of the European Pairs at the European Open Championships in San Remo, Italy.

Later in the year, Gunnar partnered John Holland and won the Gold Medal in the Senior Bermuda Bowl together with the English team. In 2014, Gunnar was part of the England Seniors team which won the European Championships, and in 2015 he was part of the England team which reached the quarter-finals of the D’Orsi Trophy at the World Bridge Championships. In February 2016 he won a silver medal at the EBL’s European Winter Games in Monaco.

Simon Hult

Andrew McIntosh has been professionally involved in bridge all his adult life. He left his native Scotland in 1993 to embark on a lucre-less career in London’s rubber bridge clubs. The appalling standard of play and especially behaviour in those clubs meant he quickly shifted his focus into private teaching. After a while he got quite good at it and on a whim and a prayer took over the Acol Bridge Club in 2007. It is now the busiest Duplicate club in the country.

Around 2014 he realised the time and effort required to teach up a club had resulted in a serious diminishing in his own skills and began to draw back from the Acol into the tournament scene. Since then he has won the Spring Fours, the Premier League, the Gold Cup, the Commonwealth Pairs and Teams and is particularly proud of a silver medal in the European Winter Open 2016 and a bronze in the European Champions Cup 2018. Both the latter where achieved with Team Black.

Tom Paske is a young bridge player and is known in the bridge world as ‘Mini Paske’ (from when his older brother used to play). He already has many domestic and international successes. His 2019 victories alone include the European Open Teams Championship, the Spring Fours and Crockfords. He won a Bronze medal in the Rosenblum in Orlando in 2018.