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2020 News and Results

Manchester League

Season 4 of the Manchester Online league has just finished.  Congratulations to the division winners.

Division 1: Inverted Minors Joy & Irving Blakey, Rhona Goldenfield, David Barton

Division 2: Proteus Royce Alexander, John Currie, Peter Foster, John Roberts, Neil Thomas, John Roberts, David Audley, Sam Herman, Rodney Lighton

Division 3: Minty 1 Barbara Lewis, Alec Smalley, Celia & Kevin Comrie

Division 4  Hale Hearts Michelle Bovensiepen, Marsha Gee, Stephen Hunter, Terry Krell

Division 5: The Four Dummies Barbara Eastabrook, Karen Jones, Lilian Syme, Judy Yates

Division 6: Stretford Sabres Richard Aubrey, Chris Collinson, Frank Eade, David Kew, Andrew O'Brien, David Tilley

Division 7: The 4 Aces Tessa Connolly, Lesley Richards, Ann Wood, Mike Wood

Senior Trials

Trials for the Teltscher Trophy team took place over the weekend of 18th-20th December.  Manchester players participating were Alan Mould and John Holland and John Hassett who played with Trevor Ward. 

Congratulations to Alan and John who won having been in the lead overnight on Saturday, dropping to fourth during Sunday but recovering to win by a small margin.  John Hassett and Trevor Ward finished fourth having been in the top four most of the weekend, with the top three qualifying to play in the Teltscher. 

Results and more information are on the EBU web site.

Goldstone Final

The much delayed Goldstone semi-final was won by Jeff Morris's team against John Robert's team.  They will play Michael Byrne's team in the final.

Sussex Match

Manchester played Sussex online on Saturday 12th December.  Manchester A won by 3 imps, Manchester B by 77 imps and Manchester C lost by 13 imps.  The overall match score was 37.8 - 22.2 VPs.

The teams were - A: Joy & Irving Blakey, Kath & Alan Nelson, John Roberts/Peter Foster, Rodney Lighton/Royce Alexander.

B: Phillip Taylor/Wei Che Tham, Alec Smalley/Barbara Lewis, Adam Wiseberg/Stuart Shalom, Nathan Marks/Geoffrey Fink.

C: Sally Bray/Judith Dunkerley, Karen Jones/Barbara Eastabrook, Mike Wakefield/Paul Murray, Gil Fletcher/Richard Acaster

Top of the cross-imp rankings were John Roberts and Peter Foster.

Results are on the Manchester Events web site

Camrose Trials

The Camrose Trials took place from 11th to 13th December online.  40 pairs competed.  Congratulations to Michael Byrne playing with Kieran Dyke who finished sixth with the top six pairs to get a Camrose match next year.  Alan Mould and John Holland just missed out in eighth place.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Ben Franks Pairs

Manchester's qualifying event for the Corwen Trophy was held online on Sunday 6th December.  21 pairs competed.  In an exciting finish, Alec Smalley and Barbara Lewis stopped in a low part score on the final board, one off was just enough to overtake Irving and Joy Blakey by one match point to win.  In third place were Jackie Pye and Mark Weeks who were playing together for the first time.  Jackie and Mark are not Manchester players so the other two places in the Corwen go to Eddie Thornton-Chan/Graham Currie and Kath Nelson/Rhona Goldenfield.  Thanks to Ken Johnson for directing and to Adam Wiseberg for organising.

Results are on the Manchester Events site.


Winners Alec Smalley and Barbara Lewis

European Selection for Manchester Players

Congratulations to Michael Byrne who has been selected to play with Kieran Dyke for England in the European Championships in Madeira in June 2021.

The rest of the team is Ben Norton, Mike Bell, David Gold and Andrew Robson.  This is substantially the team which was picked for the cancelled championship in 2020, but with Michael and Kieran replacing Alex Hydes and Ben Handley-Pritchard.

In the Women's event Catherine Draper plays with Gillian Fawcett in a team unchanged from 2020 and in the Seniors Alan Mould and John Holland play together, Alan replacing Norman Selway, who in turn is playing in the Mixed team, replacing Michael Byrne.

All these selections are on the EBU web site buried under Internationals and selections menus under that.

Tollemache Qualifier - Manchester Win

Congratulations to the Manchester team who won the Tollemache Qualifier which was played online over the weekend of 21st-22nd November.

This year it was an all play all event with 27 counties competing.  Manchester were handily placed in fourth position overnight on Saturday, but a storming set of matches on Sunday left them well clear of Surrey and Kent in joint second, despite Manchester suffering their worst defeat of the weekend against Worcester in the last round.  All five pairs were positive on cross-imps with Gary and Michael best of the Manchester pairs.  The team averaged 13.6 VPs per match and beat or tied with every other team that qualified.  Well done to all the players and especial thanks to Michael Byrne for captaining the team efficiently and enthusiastically.

The team was John Holland/John Hassett, Michael Byrne/Gary Hyett, Catherine Draper/Andrew Woodcock, Alan Mould/Rodney Lighton, Alec Smalley/Tom Slater.  Results are on the EBU web site.  The final will be held in February for the top eight teams.

Gloucester Match

The match against Gloucester was held on Sat 21st November.  The A team lost by 7 imps, but the B and C teams won by 15 and 18 respectively to give Manchester overall victory.  Results are on the Manchester Events web site.

A: Neil Thomas/Roger Hopton, Irving & Joy Blakey, Pete Foster/John Roberts, Kath & Alan Nelson

B: Raymond Semp/Rhona Goldenfield, John Stell/Max Sampson, Espen Gisvold/Janet Tolan, Sam Herman/David Sarabowski (reserves Alan Tranter/Andy Burnett)

C: Paul Murray/Phil Taylor, Irene Davies/Karen Reissmann, Gordon Bickley/Ann Farquhar, Ann Thornton/Peter Green, Stephen & Liz Halstead, Anne Whitehead/Nicki Decent

John Armstrong Pairs

The Merseyside Swiss Pairs event was held online on Sunday 15th November.  With no travel required there was a huge entry of 90 pairs from all over the country.  Best Manchester pair were Irving and Joy Blakey who finished third.  Results are on the Mersey web site.

Manchester Online League

The third season of the Manchester League has finished in October.

Congratulations to the division winners.

Division 1 NELLY (John Hassett, Greer MacKenzie, Jeff Morris, Kath & Alan Nelson, Trevor Ward).

Division 2 Stout Hearts (Diana Ackerman, Mike Ardron, Pearl Fielding, Mike Hart, John Stell).

Division 3 Corona Beer (Paul Murray, Phillip Taylor, Wei Che Tham, Mike Wakefield)

Division 4 Wild Cards ( Jean Crowhurst, Rosemary Moorhouse, John & Linda Varley)

Division 5 Biddable Overtricks ( Matilda Bingham, Faye Georgiou, John Hurst, Sanjeet Kamath, Anthony Lawrence, Maggie McPhillips, David Owen, Duncan Watson)

Division 6 Acolytes (Suzanne Beckett, Adele Hodari, Estelle & Melvin Megitt, Cliff & Laura Valins)

Division 7 Ashton Aspirants (Ben Anwyl, Chris Blackett, John Foster, Martin Hurley)

Learn Bridge

If you want to be involved in the MCBAs Learn Bridge Campaign contact Irene Davies at

If you can help with publicity or already know people who want to learn contact Susan Triggs at

There is a list of teachers who are teaching online during the pandemic at beginner and improver level on the teaching page.

Teltscher Trophy

The Senior's home internationals took place on 31st Oct to 1st Nov online using the RealTime bridge platform.  John Holland and Alan Mould played for England with Paul Hackett, Brian Senior, David Mossop and Gunnar Hallberg.  They won ahead of Scotland, this being John's fifth win in the event and Alan's first.  Details are here on the EBU web site.

Manchester Events

At an executive meeting today (25th Oct, minutes here) it was resolved to hold as many events online as possible for the rest of this season, either on the BBO or RealBridge platforms.

The Ben Franks Pairs will be on Sunday December 6th, the Manchester Congress (including Jack high events) will be on 2nd-3rd January 2021.  The Gazette Trophy will be on Sunday 7th February and the Green Point Pairs on Saturday 6th March.  The Higson Cup, Higson Plate and Goldstone competitions which have been in abeyance since March will be completed, with the Higson finals being on 25th April.  If teams do not want to play online they will have to withdraw from the competitions.

The Cantor Cup will be on Sunday 21st February and the Intermediate Swiss Pairs on Sunday 28th March.

Further details of times, formats etc. will be published when known.

Chester Bowl

The Chester Bowl, usually held at Deva, was online this year.  Instead of a qualifying session and main and consolation finals, the event was run as a 36 board single winner event with a short break half way through.  John Currie and Rodney Lighton won with a score of 65%.  Results are here.

European Seniors Online

The European Seniors online cup took place from October 5th to 18th hosted by the Polish Bridge Union.  John Hassett played for England with Trevor Ward.  England finished about half-way.  Results can be found here.

Manchester One Green Point Swiss Pairs

In place of the usual one day Swiss Teams in July, Manchester held an online Swiss imp pairs on Sunday 11th October.  The format was eight, six board matches with a short break after four matches.  We were not restricted to the number of entries and 72 pairs entered from a wide variety of places.  There were no problems with travel and, presumably, everyone was happy with their half time refreshments.  The winners were Tapan and Tony Pal from Cambridge, with mother and son pairing of Catherine Curtis and Jamie Fegarty also from Cambridge second.  Third were father and son pairing of Harry and Sam Anoyrkatis from Devon.  Full results are on the Manchester Events web site.

Thanks to Adam Wiseberg for organising and to Oliver Cowan for directing.

Manchester v Devon

Manchester played Devon online on Saturday 10th October with A, B and C teams competing.  The result was a win for Devon by 97 imps.

The Manchester Teams were:- A Catherine Draper/Andrew Woodcock, Rhona Goldenfield/Michael Byrne, Alec Smalley/David Barton, Alan & Kath Nelson.  B Adam Wiseberg/Stuart Shalom, John Roberts/Pete Foster, Roger Hopton/Dave Fussell, Tony Hodgson/Eddie Thornton-Chan.  C John Browning/Sylvia Massey, Steve Mattinson/Barbara Lewis, Karen Jones/John Fitzgerald, Sally Bray/Judith Dunkerley.  Top of the cross-imp rankings were John Roberts and Pete Foster.

Thanks to all for playing and to Adam Wiseberg for organising - results are on the MCBA events web site.

North Wales Swiss Pairs

Manchester players dominated the North Wales online Swiss Pairs on Saturday 10th October.  Congratulations to Gary Hyett who won with Alan Cooke just ahead of Andy Green and Stephen Ward.  In third place were Paul Murray and Phillip Taylor.  Results can be found here.

Great Northern Pairs

This year's Great Northern Swiss Pairs was run online and wasn't Swiss.  Despite an earlier news item Kath and Alan Nelson didn't win, though they won Sunday's session and were top ranking Manchester pair in tenth place.  Click here for the final scores.

Charity Pairs

Thirty pairs competed in the Charity Event on 30th September, profits going to the Nicky Alliance in Salford which provides day care for elderly residents.  Sally Brock, multiple Ladies World Champion and regular visitor to Manchester events played with Irving Blakey, they scored an impressive 69%, but were beaten into second place by Joy Blakey and Adam Wiseberg who achieved 72%.

Manchester v London

Manchester played London online in a team of 24 match organised into A, B and C sections on Saturday 26th September.  After the first half Manchester held a small lead, but it drifted away in the second half.  The event was played online using the RealBridge interface which was new to many of us.  It was nice to be able to see and hear the players at your own table, though the interface takes a bit of getting used to and is occasionally flaky.

Overall London won by 50 imps (35.5 to 24.5 VPs) with our A team losing by 17, the B team losing by 59 and the C team winning by 25 imps.

The teams were:

A Michael Byrne/Rodney Lighton, Catherine Draper/Andrew Woodcock, Jeff Morris/Stuart Shalom, Alec Smalley/Tom Slater.

B Joy & Irving Blakey, Phil Taylor/Josh Clarke, Kath Nelson/Rhona Goldenfield, John Stell/Andy Green

C Alan Tranter/Andy Burnett, Sam & Will Wakefield, Roger Hopton/Irene Davies, Paul Beckwith/Joyce Jones

Top of the x-imp rankings were Alan Tranter and Andy Burnett.  Thanks to all for playing and to Adam Wiseberg for organising the match.

Detailed results are on the Manchester Online Event web site.

Online League Season 2

Congratulations to Tracy Capal's Deal or No Deal team (Paddy Murphy, Liz Commins, David Stevenson, Ted Revely) who have won division 1 by large margin.  In division 2 A41 Adventurers (Richard Alcock, Trevor Hails, Chris Ryall and Simon Whitehouse) also won comfortably.  Division 3 was won by Rejuvenated ( Jonathan Engler, Peter Jones, Alan Mould, Daniel Kelsall, Adam Wiseberg and Stuart Shalom). Misfits (Mark Gomme, Ron Lowe, Vivienne Newgrosh and Enid Noronha) won division 4.  Wild Cards (Jean Crowhurst, Rosemary Moorhouse, John and Linda Varley) were well ahead in division 5, whereas in division 6 Marple Bridgers (David Bakewell, Nick Collett, Ralph Deane, Hari Gohil, Ash & Jackie Shah) just won.  Finally in division 7 Ruff Diamonds (Barbara & Martyn Andrews, Ann & Peter Shakespeare) won.  Season 3 will start soon.

EBU Lockdown League

Michael Byrne's team have won the fifth season of the lockdown league.  They have won every season so far, but the latest win was by only 1.4 VPs, so there is hope for other teams.


The Goldstone continues at a slow pace.  Michael Byrne's St Titus beat Roger Hopton's New Connections online on 16th September to reach the final.  This competition usually qualifies for the Pachabo, but that was cancelled long ago, so expect the other semi and the final to be played within a few months.

Ollie Leaves Manchester

Congratulations to Ollie Burgess who has been appointed manager of the Young Chelsea Bridge Club in London.  Ollie came to Manchester from Lancashire about 10 years ago.  He has been a popular teacher at Manchester Bridge Club during that time and played for Manchester and in many Manchester competitions, notably winning the league in 2017 and 2018.  We wish him all the best in his new career.

Online League

Congratulations to Inverted Minors (David Barton, Joy & Irving Blakey, Leslie Klein and Rhona Goldenfield) who have won the top division in the first season of the Manchester Online League.  Second were St Titus (Michael Byrne, Ollie Burgess, John Holland, Alan Mould, Gary Hyett and Rodney Lighton).  In division 2 winners were Irene Davies, Bob Cooke, John Parsons, Nicholas Greer and Karen Reissmann).  Tempo 1 (Richard Acaster, Pauline Lang, Raymond Semp and Ann Thornton) won division 3.  The Four Dummies (Karen Jones, Barbara Eastabrook, Lilian Syme and Judy Yates) topped division 4.  Division 5 was won by Trafford Tigers (Jean Santo, Christopher Tollhurst-Cleaver, Clive & Helen Worthington).  In division 6 Allsorts (Bernard Kaye, Chris Kelsall, Tean Porteus, Colin Westwood and Paul Starling) scored the best average VPs over all the divisions and finally in division 7 Marple Bridgers (David Bakewell, Nick Collett, Ralph Deane, Hari Gohil, Ash and Jackie Shah won.

The next season starts on 27th August, good luck to all.  Results are on the EBU league page.

Mutton Cup

Congratulations to John Hassett who won Jason Hackett's individual event in Madrid on 13-15th August.  Congratulations to Jason and Justin on reaching 50 and well done to Jason in organising a face to face event in these difficult times.

John Hassett

John Hassett with Jason Hackett

President's Cup

The annual inter county teams of eight was played online this year on Tuesday evenings starting on 23rd June.  Twelve counties entered with each match being eight boards.  Manchester had two teams. 

Manchester Blue beat Warwickshire 11-9, North Wales 13-7, Sussex 15-5, Hereford 11-9, Mersey 18-2, drew with Derby G and lost to Yorkshire 9-11, the North-East 8-12, Derby Y 2-18, Suffolk/Essex 9-11 and Manchester Red 8-12.  They finished sixth.

Manchester Red beat Derby G 12-8, North Wales 11-9, Sussex 13-7, Hereford 13-7, the North-East 17-3, Manchester Blue 12-8 and lost to Warwickshire 1-19, Yorkshire 5-15, Derby Y 4-16 Mersey 6-14 and Suffolk/Essex 0-20.  They finished ninth with a final, narrow but no doubt satisfying, win over Manchester Blue.

Manchester Blue team members: John Holland, Rhona Goldenfield, Rodney Lighton, John Currie, Alan Mould Ollie Burgess, Catherine Draper, Andrew Woodcock, Alec Smalley, David Barton, John Hassett, Michael Byrne, Joy & Irving Blakey, Tom Slater.

Manchester Red team members: Kath & Alan Nelson, Peter Foster, John Roberts, Roger Hopton, Dave Fussell, Mike Hart, Pearl Fielding, Neil Thomas, Gillian McMullan, John Parsons, Peter Jones, Josh Clarke, Paul Murray, Adam Wiseberg, Jonathan Engler, Stuart Shalom, Daniel Kelsall, Chris Hine, Stephen Ward, Andy Green, John Stell, Paul Beckwith, Joyce Jones, Espen Gisvold, Janet Tolan, Steve Mattinson, Pauline Lang.

Information about the event is here

EBU Virtual Summer Meeting

Congratulations to Michael Byrne who won the EBU Four Stars Final playing with Kieran Dyke, Frances Hinden and Graham Osborne.  They led the Swiss Teams element of the competition on Friday and Saturday 7-8th August by a comfortable margin and then won the all play all final which the top eight teams qualified for.  Going into the last match it was very close but the Draper team lost heavily to the England under 20s who Michael coaches, whilst a good win against Liz Commins saw Michael's team regain the lead.  Michael and Kieran also won the cross imps by a large margin.  This was Michael's fourth win in this event, having last won in 2017 with Kieran.

In the Swiss Teams event which continued on Sunday without the top sixteen teams Catherine Draper and Andrew Woodcock won with Alex Hydes and Diana Nettleton; Joy & Irving Blakey, Rhona Goldenfield and Ted Reveley were fifth.

Detailed results are on the EBU web site.

Bramhall and Cheadle Merge

Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme bridge clubs have merged to form the Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme Bridge Centre.

When face to face bridge resumes the club will meet at the Bramhall premises in the Bramhall Village Club on Melbourne Road which have been refurbished and expanded.  In the meantime the club will be holding online duplicates on a Tuesday evening starting on 4th August.


The AGM of the association took place online on Wednesday 29th July.

There was a lot of discussion of online bridge and the possibility of return to face to face play without reaching any great conclusions.

David Tilley was appointed to the vacant tournament secretary post, Karen Sandler stood down as membership secretary, her role will be taken over by Alan Mould in addition to his secretarial role.  Alan Mould resigned from the selection committee, the new selection committee will be Adam Wiseberg, Roger Hopton, John Roberts, Michael Byrne and Rhona Goldenfield.  Susan Triggs takes over as publicity officer in place of Jeff Morris.

The agenda, reports of officers, officers nominations, accounts, and audit report can be found on the documents page.

The minutes of the AGM are now posted (30th July).

EBU Lockdown League

Michael Byrne's team has won the fourth season of the lockdown league, they have won every season so far.  Jeff Smith's team finished third.

Michelle Brunner Charity Event

This year the annual event in memory of Michelle took place on Saturday 18th July at 2pm online hosted by Manchester Bridge Club.

Congratulations to the winners Barbara Eastabrook and Karen Jones who were 2% ahead of Joy and Irving Blakey with Pete Foster and Mike Amos third. 

38 pairs participated and 2000 was raised for Christie Hospital and St Ann's Hospice. 

Results are on the Manchester Bridge Club web site.

Player of the Year

Congratulations to the winners of the Player of the Year in the expert category Rodney Lighton just ahead of John Holland and in the non-expert category Adam Wiseberg who finished one point ahead of joint second Sally Bray, Judith Dunkerley and Jonathan Engler.

The Higson Cup and Plate were ignored in the scoring as the competitions have not been completed.  The league points are based on the positions calculated using the Mould formula to complete the season.  For the Goldstone Trophy non-expert points were awarded as all non-expert teams had been eliminated before lockdown.  Expert points were not awarded in the Goldstone (it would not make any difference to the top places as Rodney and John were in the same team).

An interview with...

Michael Byrne interviewed various personalities from the world of bridge in Manchester during lockdown.

Click on the links below for the interviews

Rhona Goldenfield

Bob Cooke

Barbara Lewis and Alec Smalley  Results from Vilamoura

Jeff Smith 

Eve Lighthill 

Alan Mould 

Irene Davies

Celia and Kevin Comrie

Joy and Irving Blakey

Llandudno Pairs Weekend (Online)

In the qualifying round on Saturday 4th July the following Manchester players reached the A final by finishing in the top ten.  Pete Foster (with Mike Amos), Rhona Goldenfield (with Tracy Capal), Stuart Shalom and Daniel Kelsall, Irving Blakey and Raymond Semp.

Congratulations to Pete Foster who finished second and Rhona Goldenfield who finished third.

Results are on the North Wales web site.

Bill Hirst

Bill Hirst

Bill Hirst, who has died recently, was an outstanding player in and for Manchester for many decades.

Bill came to Manchester in 1978 where he worked in Insurance and Risk Management.  He was a very keen rubber bridge player, who played in the big game at Manchester Bridge Club where he could enjoy a high standard of bridge.  He also liked playing golf, and went frequently to the bridge congress in Killarney where he could participate in both pastimes.  In 1989 he formed a partnership with John Hassett; they had many successes, including playing for Great Britain in the Senior's World Olympiad and winning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.  They qualified to play for England in the Camrose Trophy via the Premier League twice, but were unable to play as Bill was in Australia.   At national level Bill won the Tollemache twice and Crockfords.  He and John Hassett together with Bernard and Rhona Goldenfield won the Hubert Phillips twice and came very close to winning the Gold Cup, losing narrowly in the final in 2006.   He won virtually every major trophy in Manchester, many several times over.

About ten years ago Bill and his wife Sheila retired to Kent to live near their daughter Suzanne, they also went to Australia for long periods every winter to stay with their son Andy who also plays bridge to a high standard, Bill often played in the Gold Coast Congress whilst there.  In Kent Bill played some bridge with Pat Collins.

Bill died of an infection following surgery for a benign brain tumour.  Our condolences to his family.

Bill's funeral was held on Monday 20th July.

The service was online at username Fefe2532 password 507315. 

The service will be viewable again from three days after the funeral for a period of 28 days.

Here is a link to the service sheet

Suit Combinations

Below is a set of suit combination problems.  Assume there are plenty of entries to both hands and no problems with control and no inferences from the auction or previous play unless otherwise stated. 


for 5 tricks
for four tricks
for 5 tricks

(for four tricks)
for five tricks
for 2 tricks
for three tricks
for three tricks
for four tricks
for four tricks
for three tricks,
with one entry to N
at matchpoints
For three tricks
Who has the queen?
For four tricks
for four tricks
for four tricks
for four tricks
for four tricks
with no entry to dummy
With no entry to dummy
for five tricks
for three tricks
for two tricks
for three tricks
With only one
entry to dummy

Terry Krell played with Espen Lindqvist

Espen Lindqvist, Norwegian international and multiple winner of North American bridge championships including the Spingold and Reisinger has volunteered to play in the Manchester Charity event on 24th June with the person who makes the highest monetary bid to play with him.  Money goes to the Centrepoint charity for homeless young people.

Thanks to Terry Krell who made the highest bid and played with Espen.  They finished third in the NS direction; thanks for their generosity.

EBU Lockdown League

Michael Byrne's team has won the third season of the lockdown league, their third win in a row.  Jeff Smith's team finished fifth this time round.

Executive Meeting and AGM

The executive of the MCBA met on 7th June, minutes are on the documents page.
The MCBA AGM will take place on Wednesday 29th July at 19.00 on zoom.  To download zoom please go to
Agenda items and officers reports to the MCBA secretary by Wednesday 8th July.
The league season will finish on 11th July, any matches not played by then will be scored by the Mould formula.
The Higson Cup and Plate are to be left in abeyance.
Hopefully the Goldstone will be finished online.

EBU Lockdown League

The second season of the EBU Lockdown League has finished with Michael Byrne winning the top division again with Kieran Dyke, Mike Bell, Ben Norton, Sarah Bell and Nicola Smith.  In second place were Jeff Smith, Alec Smalley, David Barton and Leslie Klein.

Jenny Morris Teaching

Starting from the week commencing May 25th 2020, Jenny will be teaching online using zoom.  See

Promotional Video

Click the link below for a two minute video

Bridge: A Mind Sport for All

Mark Halliwell

Mark Halliwell

We are sorry to report that Mark Halliwell died recently of cancer.  Mark was part of the team that ran Bridge World in the late eighties where he taught bridge.  He later played regularly at Manchester Bridge Club and in division one of the Manchester league in the Grasshoppers team with Mike Ardron.  He did a lot of bridge teaching and introduced players into MCBA clubs and competitions.  He won the congress teams, the Higson Plate and the Great Northern Swiss Pairs.

Executive Meetings

MCBA senior officers are meeting virtually during the lockdown to discuss any urgent MCBA matters.  To date, these have largely been around the county's support of online bridge for its members.  However, we would be interested to hear from any members or clubs who have any concerns.  Please contact the county secretary, Alan Mould, with any item you would like discussed.  Keep well and safe and see you the other side of lockdown.

Minutes of this meeting are now on the documents page under executive meetings.

League Match

Cheshire Cheeses and Proteus in division 1 played a league match online on Sunday 3rd May, the first match played in the league since lockdown began.  The result was a small win for Cheshire Cheeses.

Manchester Charity Tournament

Thanks to everyone who participated in the online charity tournament on Wednesday 29th April.  We had 22 tables and raised 1,600 for St Anne's Hospice.  The event was won by Kevin and Celia Comrie.  We will be holding an online charity tournament each month.  To register go to the Manchester Events website.  Charities are suffering in this lockdown so if you know of a deserving charity please contact us with suggestions.

I wish to thank the team of people who have brought us online bridge in these difficult days.  The County's games are organised and run by players who do it purely out of their love for the game.  These games give so much pleasure and begin to overcome some of the isolation that we all feel.

Thanks to Adam Wiseberg, Alec Samlley and Jeff Smith who did all the hard work setting up on BBO.  Just as importantly to all TDs and the players they have trained to direct on BBO; Espen Gisvold, Dave Tilley and Victor Ridding.

Let's hope that we get back to face to face bridge sooner rather than later, but in the meantime enjoy the pleasures of online bridge.

Irene Davies MCB Chair

EBU Lockdown League

Congratulations to Michael Byrne who has won the first season of the lockdown league with Kieran Dyke, Mike Bell, Ben Norton, Sarah Bell and Nicola Smith.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Council Meeting

The minutes of the council meeting held on 24th March (remote participation) are now posted on the documents page.  Business was dominated by discussion of the effect of the pandemic.  The criteria for non-expert will be changed from the beginning of next season, whenever that may be, to NGS J and below.

Michael Newman Funeral

Michael Newman's funeral service at Howe Bridge crematorium took place on Thursday 26th March.  A few close friends attended (well separated) and a large number of other friends watched it online.

If you missed the funeral and wish to see it, then the service is online (7th April) with the same login details for a period of 28 days.

The website is  username howe1344 password 900240

It is hoped that a celebration of Michael's life will take place in the Autumn that everyone will be welcome to go to.

At the MCBA council meeting on Tuesday it was agreed to buy a new trophy for the first division of the Manchester League in honour of Michael.

Michael Newman

Michael Newman

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Michael Newman (MJN) who was one of Manchester's best bridge players, winner of many local and national events who also worked and taught at Manchester Bridge Club for many years.

Michael was born in Beaconsfield in 1960 the younger of two sons in his family.  He was brought up in Kent and arrived in the Manchester area when his parents moved up to Bolton in the late 1970s. 

He showed early promise as a bridge player winning the England Junior Pairs in 1984 with Martin Braid and in 1985 with Joe Fawcett.  He enjoyed success in the Manchester league in partnership with Tom Middleton in the 1980s and with Kath Nelson in the 1990s. 

His results blossomed after forming a partnership with Michael Byrne in the early 2000s.  Among his numerous wins* in county competitions were seven league titles and the Ben Franks pairs six times with three different partners.  He won the Manchester congress teams twice, once in 1984 as a junior playing with three adults and once in 2011 as an adult playing with three juniors.

At national level he was a key member of Manchester's team when winning the Pachabo three times.  In particular in 2015, the first time that Manchester won the Pachabo, he and Alan Mould were Manchester's best pair by far.  He won the Garden Cities trophy and the inter-county league finals, both three times, as well as a single success in the NICKO.

He was a fierce competitor, keen to do his best and always greatly pleased at winning competitions.  Even when victory was no longer possible he always strived to achieve a place on the podium, fighting until the last board for a top three finish.

He was a staunch supporter of bridge in Manchester, turning out frequently for Northern league matches and playing for the Tollemache team.  He was proud of Manchester's good record in that event, though disappointed that he never won the event.

He worked for nearly forty years at Manchester Bridge Club on Palatine Road playing in the rubber bridge games as a host.  He ran the successful beginners duplicate on Tuesday nights as well as the Swiss pairs on Thursday nights, often playing with some of the beginners who came without partners.  He would tell the story of when another bridge player (Rita Jordan) said to him "You never seem to get any older - do you have a painting in the attic?".  Though not initially understanding the reference to Oscar Wilde's story he came to adopt the name Dorian Gray when he wanted to play under an assumed name. 

He served as secretary of the Manchester County Bridge Association for ten years from 2007 to 2017 and worked hard in helping to write Manchester's new constitution.

Away from the bridge table Michael's other great love was karaoke.  He used to perform regularly in several pubs in the Bolton area.  His favourite songs, amongst many others, were "Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel and "I want to hold your hand" by the Beatles .

Sadly in 2019 his health deteriorated and in early 2020 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He continued playing as long as his health allowed.  He was delighted to win a league match by over 100 IMPs at the beginning of March telling everyone that it was the fewest IMPs (four) that he had ever conceded in 35 years of playing in the league.

He will be fondly remembered for his love of bridge and his loyalty to his team and friends.

Michael John Newman born 24th October 1960 died 12th March 2020.

Click here for Michael's self written obituary.

* See the county and national honours pages for events won by Michael.

Thanks to Michael Byrne for contributions to this obituary.

Olympiad Open Trials

The Olympiad Open Trials took place in London from 13th to 17th March.  Michael Byrne played with Kieran Dyke on the Leslie team.  Results are on the EBU web site.  Michael's team failed to progress to the knock-out stage.

Eric Howarth Teams

Congratulations to Rhona Goldenfield, John Holland, Michael Byrne and Alan Mould who won the Green Point Teams at Deva on 8th March.

Results are on the Deva web site.


John Holland, Rhona Goldenfield, Michael Byrne and Alan Mould

Green Point Pairs

The Swiss Pairs at Altrincham on 7th March attracted an entry of 24 tables despite corona virus.  Catherine Draper and Andrew Petrie from Lancashire won by a small margin ahead of Michael Byrne and Michael Newman, with Alan Mould and Paul Hackett third.  Well done to Bill Bentley and Pearl Fielding who won the non-expert prize, finishing half way.

Thanks to Rhona Goldenfield for organising, to Michael Newman for presenting and to Henry Bissell and Joan Lewis for directing efficiently.

The Player of the Year spreadsheet is now updated, Rodney Lighton has taken a slender lead in the expert category ahead of John Holland while Sally Bray and Judith Dunkerley are just ahead of Pearl Fielding in the non-expert category.

Full results are on the Manchester Events web site.


Winners Andrew Petrie and Catherine Draper


Second Michael Byrne and Michael Newman

Third Paul Hackett and Alan Mould


Fifth equal Jeremy Stanforth, John Dearing, Gillian Whyte and John Holland

Non-expert Pearl Fielding (Bill Bentley)
Last round

Last round prize Ted Reveley and Rhona Goldenfield

Pos Cat No Players Matches Total
Tops Green
1   19
Catherine Draper & Andrew Petrie
11 20 20 13 18 9 14 105 140 3
2   41
Michael Byrne & Michael Newman
14 17 20 7 20 6 17 101 140 2.38
3   20
Alan Mould & Paul Hackett
9 18 1 20 20 14 16 98 140 2.08
4   42
John Currie & Rodney Lighton
6 20 14 20 19 11 4 94 140 1.94
5=   13
Jeremy Stanforth & John Dearing
17 6 5 18 20 19 6 91 140 1.53
5=   12
Gillian Whyte & John Holland
19 6 6 8 20 16 16 91 140 1.53
7   36
Nick Woodcock & Sue Fjortoft
13 9 9 12 17 19 11 90 140 1.61
8   2
John Sansom & David Debbage
4 18 19 10 13 15 9 88 140 1.38
9   33
Ted Reveley & Rhona Goldenfield
15 17 3 14 13 2 20 84 140 1
10   32
Gillian McMullan & Neil Thomas
16 14 5 12 0 20 16 83 140 1
11=   37
Jeff Morris & Kath Nelson
14 12 19 15 1 18 3 82 140 1
11=   45
Paul Murray & Peter Grauer
13 11 11 6 18 16 7 82 140 1
13   23
Howard Kay & Chris Ryall
17 7 9 11 9 15 13 81 140 1
14=   48
Jeffrey Smith & Jackie Pye
14 8 15 16 6 4 16 79 140 1
14=   34
Liz Commins & David Stevenson
5 11 20 4 2 20 17 79 140 1
14= NE 27
Adam Wiseberg & John Fitzgerald
4 6 15 20 11 19 4 79 140 1
17   28
Peter Hall & Julian Merrill
16 6 5 2 11 19 19 78 140 1
18   8
Catherine & John Ashworth
3 14 1 11 12 18 17 76 140 1
19=   7
Colin Humphrey & Daniel Miller
17 14 0 12 15 9 7 74 140 1
19=   11
Raymond Semp & Toby Nonnenmacher
1 17 12 0 8 20 16 74 140 1
21=   16
Peter Foster & John Roberts
16 14 0 9 18 4 11 72 140 1
21=   15
Nicholas Greer & Irene Davies
4 16 12 18 7 11 4 72 140 1
23   6
Adrian Goulding & Oliver Cowan
16 20 13 11 2 5 4 71 140 1
24=   1
Gary Hyett & Margaret Howe
16 13 15 5 7 1 13 70 140 1
24= NE 29
Pearl Fielding & Bill Bentley
13 3 19 8 5 13 9 70 140
26 NE 24
David & Linda Glasscock
3 3 12 14 14 7 16 69 140 1
27   18
Tracy Capal & Paddy Murphy
15 0 15 11 3 20 4 68 140 1
28 NE 10
Sally Bray & Judith Dunkerley
15 20 7 10 14 1 0 67 140 0.88
29 NE 25
Karen Jones & Barbara Eastabrook
16 6 11 9 2 3 19 66 140
30   35
Bob Loveridge & Michael Tomlinson
7 17 15 0 5 17 3 64 140
31   40
Lance Bloohn & Roger Hopton
19 14 17 9 0 1 3 63 140
32   46
Michael Fay & Bill Carr
7 3 10 3 17 11 11 62 140 0.88
33   22
Gwen Beattie & Steve Gregson
12 0 10 9 12 2 16 61 140 0.88
34=   30
Howard Stubbings & Dhun Daji
7 14 1 17 15 5 1 60 140
34=   38
Richard Acaster & Gilbert Fletcher
6 0 8 4 17 11 14 60 140
36= NE 4
Michael Wymer & Peter Green
4 2 18 11 9 0 15 59 140
36=   14
Eddie Thornton-Chan & Tony Hodgson
3 17 8 0 9 5 17 59 140
38=   9
Stuart N. Clarke & Sue Woodcock
5 4 5 16 8 15 4 57 140
38=   44
Paul Worswick & Patricia Burrows
5 9 5 9 6 14 9 57 140
40   3
Paul Morrell & Stephen Ward
16 0 0 6 13 9 10 54 140 0.63
41=   17
Ollie Burgess & Mark Weeks
5 13 8 20 0 0 6 52 140
41=   31
Ann Thornton & Steve Mattinson
4 6 10 7 14 1 10 52 140 0.51
43=   26
Liz & Bill Wattleworth
4 14 14 2 11 0 4 49 140
43= NE 47
Jim Straffon & Lindsey Cuff
8 2 10 13 6 9 1 49 140 0.38
45 NE 39
Barbara Moore & David Murray
1 3 2 15 7 6 13 47 140
46   5
Eve Lighthill & Ian Kane
4 7 20 8 0 0 5 44 140
47 NE 43
Maureen Seddon & Paul Jones
15 3 6 0 3 7 7 41 140
48 NE 21
Pat Dunningham & Peter Horn
8 6 0 5 3 13 3 38 140

Ranked Master Pairs

In the Premier Grand Masters Pairs on 29th Feb-1st Mar Kath Nelson finished third with Steve Auchterlonie.  The event was won by Dave Debbage and Paul Hackett.  Results of all the ranked masters events are on the EBU web site.

Cantor Cup

The Cantor Cup, a tournament for newer players, was held at Manchester Bridge Club on Sunday, 23rd February. The friendly event was enjoyed by 22 pairs, who particularly welcomed three novice pairs from the new Manchester GS Bridge Society - we look forward to seeing more of them at future events.  Sandip Pindolia and Kinkar Pal won the prize for the best student pair.

First prize went to Maureen Seddon and Jan Lancaster, second to very recent learner Peter Holiday with Kim Stent, thirrd to Frank Warburton and Ralph Young, fourth to Sheila Wimbleton and Christine Richardson and fifth to Madeline Rose and Lauren Millar. There was also a prize for the pair nearest 50%, which went to Simon Burgess and Tessa Connolly.

Detailed results are on the Manchester Events Website, as well as the Manchester Bridge Club website.

Thanks go to Ray Ashleigh, Barbara Lewis and Jeff Morris for organising and to Joan Lewis for directing.


Winners Maureen Seddon (Jeff Morris presenting) Jan Lancaster


Second Peter Holiday and Kim Stent


Third Frank Warburton and Ralph Young


Fourth Sheila Wimbleton and Christine Richardson


Fifth Lauren Millar and Madeline Rose


Nearest to 50% Simon Burgess and Tessa Connolly


Juniors Sandip Pindolia and Kinkar Pal

EBU Spring Congress

In the Swiss Pairs at Harrogate on 21st-22nd February Michael Byrne and Tom Slater were third, Alan Mould and John Holland fourth.  In the Swiss Teams on the Sunday, Tom Slater, Alec Smalley, Michael Byrne and Rhona Goldenfield were second.  Well done to all.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Introductory Offer for Non-Affiliated Clubs

The EBU is offering four months free affiliation for non-affiliated clubs.  For further details click here.

Tournament Secretary

There is an opportunity for someone to volunteer as Tournament Secretary.  Each individual tournament run by the county has an organiser, but we need someone to coordinate them.  The pay is not vast, the hours are intermittent, but the people you would work with are nice.  Anyone interested please contact Irene Davies, the county chair.

Click here for a job description

Tollemache Final

The inter county team of eight final took place in Coventry on 15-16th February.  Congratulations to the Manchester team who finished second behind Middlesex.  This is the fifth time since 2000 that Manchester have been second, a win in the competition still eludes them.  John Holland and John Hassett were our best pair on cross IMPs.

Manchester qualified in November, winning their qualifying group. The team for the final was Michael Byrne/Alan Mould, John Holland/John Hassett, Catherine Draper/Andrew Woodcock, Alec Smalley/Tom Slater, npc Rhona Goldenfield.  The other counties playing were Middlesex, Devon, Cambs & Hunts, Kent, Surrey, Berks & Bucks and Gloucestershire.  Results are on the EBU web site.

European Mixed Trials

The trials for the England team to play in the Mixed Event in the Europeans in June took place from 7th-10th February in London.  Michael Byrne played with Kay Preddy, Frances Hinden, Graham Osborne, Heather Dhondy and Joe Fawcett.  There were four teams.  They played a double round robin from Friday to Saturday and then the top two teams played a knock out match on Sunday.  Michael's team topped the round robin comfortably, winning all their matches.  They then played a 112 board match against Catherine Seale's team, which lasted 64 boards before the Seale team conceded.  Congratulations to Michael and team. 

There will now be three Manchester players competing in the Europeans in Funchal, Michael Byrne in the Mixed, John Holland in the Seniors and Catherine Draper in the Womens.


The Trials Winners

Kay Preddy, Michael Byrne, Frances Hinden, Graham Osborne, Heather Dhondy, Joe Fawcett

Gazette Trophy

The inter-club teams of eight competition was held at Altrincham on Sunday 2nd February.  Ten teams competed with Besses of the Barn being a new entrant.  Congratulations to them on winning the Intermediate prize.  The competition was won by the Manchester Bridge club A team with their B team finishing second.
Thanks to Ann Thornton for organising the competition and to Joan Lewis for directing.
Detailed results are on the Manchester Events web site.
The Player of the Year results have now been updated, John Holland and Rodney Lighton are now joint leaders in the expert category while there is a three way tie for the lead in the non-expert category between Sally Bray, Judith Dunkerley and Adam Wiseberg.


Winners Manchester A
Martin Taylor, Nicholas Greer, Rhona Goldenfield, Henry Bissell
Dave Debbage, Catherine Draper, Barbara Hackett, Andrew Woodcock
with Ann Thornton

Second Manchester B
Daniel Kelsall, Karen Reissmann, Irene Davies, Simon Townsend,
Paul Murray, Tricia Blum, Peter Grauer, Phillip Taylor

Intermediate Winners Besses of the Barn
Richard Zoltie, Pearl Fielding, Ivor Rosenborg, Lawrence Abramson,
Sue Reed, Bill Bentley, Peter Maclese, Phil Reed

Senior European Trials

Trials for the Senior European Team took place in London on 1st-2nd Feb.  There were two teams:  David Mossop's team included John Holland, Jeremy Dhondy's team included John Hassett.  The Mossop team won a fluctuating contest by 31 IMPs and go on to represent England in the championships in Funchal, Madeira in June.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Chester Congress

The congress at Deva on 25-26th January was well attended as usual with a fair number of Manchester participants.  Neil Thomas and Paul Beckwith were fourth in the pairs final, Steve Mattinson and Ann Thornton third in the consolation pairs final.  In the Swiss Teams Steve Harris, Mike Parr and Joyce White were third with Babs Matthews of Cumbria.  Click here for the Deva Club website.

French Trials

The French Bridge Federation played their trials for Europen Open selection on the weekend of 24-26th January.  They invited six English pairs to play against their participants.  Among the English pairs were John Holland and Alan Mould and Michael Byrne playing with Kieran Dyke.

Click here for the French Bridge Federation website (en Francais).

Pat Buxton

We are sorry to report the death of Pat Buxton on Tuesday 21st January.  Pat worked tirelessly as the tournament secretary for the county for well over ten years.  She was a regular player at Cheadle Hulme, Poynton and Brookdale and was a long serving member of the Cheadle Hulme committee.  She contributed in many ways to the success of Cheadle Hulme always working hard looking after the welfare of the club and its members.  We send our condolences to her daughter and sister.

Pat Buxton

Lancashire Cross-IMP Pairs

Well done to Rhona Goldenfield playing with Jeff Smith who won at Preston on 18th January.  Jeff Morris and Kath Nelson were fourth. 
Results are on the LCBA web site.

Preston Blue Point Teams

Congratulations to Neil Thomas, Nicholas Greer, Rodney Lighton and John Currie who won the teams at Preston on 12th January.  They won on a split tie.  In the consolation event Bill Bentley, Rhona Goldenfield, Kevin and Celia Comrie were also in a split tie for first place, but they lost the tie split.  Results are on the Preston Club Web Site.

Manchester Congress

The Manchester Congress took place over the weekend of 4-5th January at the Victoria and Albert Hotel.We welcomed Jovanka Smederevac an Austrian World Champion, several Norwegian players, Scottish and Welsh players as well as English players from all over the country to make this an international congress.
The congress was well attended with 62 pairs in the championship event, 33 teams on the Sunday and 21 and 27 pairs in the Intermediate events on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  Congratulations to all the winners.  Dave Debbage and Andrew Woodcock won the pairs for the third time in four years, Leslie Klein and Jeff Smith won the Men's Pairs prize, Suzy Lawson and Alan Jarvis the Mixed Pairs and Rhona Goldenfield and Marianne Farr the Women's Pairs.  The championship teams was renamed the Bernard Goldenfield Congress Teams this year in memory of one of Manchester's greatest players who died last year.  A magnificent new trophy was presented in his memory.  The event was won by Sally Brock, Barry Myers, Jovanka Smederevac and Rodney Lighton.  Will and Sam Wakefield won the prize for the best juniors over the weekend.

In the Intermediate events Harold Weinstock and Tomi Komoly won the Players Progress Cup on the Saturday, Vanessa and Clement Goldstone the Kevin Comrie cup on the Sunday.
Thanks to Irene Davies and her team of helpers and to the directors who ran these events smoothly.

The Player of the Year spreadsheet has been updated, John Holland and Adam Wiseberg still lead in the Expert and Intermediate categories respectively, but their lead has been cut.
Raymond Semp's quiz was won by Sally Brock, the champagne prize was consumed by Sally's team to celebrate their win in the teams.

Michael Byrne's quiz and answers can be found here  Winner was Graham Osborne 57, second Mike Wood 56, third Tom Slater and friends 40, fourth Adam Wiseberg 31.

Here are links to the results of various events which can also be found on the Manchester Events web site under the results tab.

Players Progress Cup

Kevin Comrie Cup

Championship Pairs

Bernard Goldenfield Teams Final

Teams Secondary Final

Consolation Teams Final

Teams Qualifying Yellow

Teams Qualifying Green

Teams Qualifying Red

PP Winners

Players Progress Cup Winners
Harold Weinstock and Tomi Komoly with Ann Thornton

PP 2nd

Players Progress Cup Second
Rana Das and Andy Robertshaw
PP 3rd

Players Progress Cup Third
Heather Saunders and Graham Fletcher

PP 4th

Players Progress Cup Fourth
Niramay and Mike Wakefield
PP 5th

Players Progress Cup Fifth
Paula and Peter Behrens
Kevin Comrie Winners

Kevin Comrie Cup Winners
Vanessa and Clement Goldstone with Kevin Comrie

KC seocnd

Kevin Comrie Cup Second
Vera Lowson and Stephen Fernley
KC third

Kevin Comrie Cup Third
Andrew Wiatr and Ken Hall

KC Fourth

Kevin Comrie Cup Fourth
Annie Curtis and Ann Wood
KC Fifth

Kevin Comrie Cup Fifth
Christopher Tolhurst-Cleaver and Adrienne Stone
Pairs Winners

Pairs Winner with John Holland presenting
David Debbage (Andrew Woodcock)
Mens Pairs

Pairs Second and Men's Pairs
Leslie Klein and Jeff Smith

Mixed Pairs

Pairs Third and Mixed Pairs
Suzy Lawson (Alan Jarvis)


Ladies Pairs
Marianne Farr and Rhona Goldenfield
Mixed 2nd

Second in Mixed Pairs
John Holland and Jackie Pye

Session 1

Session 1 Prize
Raymond Semp (David Olliver)

Bjorn Borre Leinan and Erik Eliassen


Intermediates First
Stewart Hart (David Smith)

Intermediates Second and Juniors Prize
Will and Sam Wakefield with Rhona Goldenfield

Teams Winners

Bernard Goldenfield Teams Winners
Jovanka Smederevac, Sally Brock, Rodney Lighton, Barry Myers

Teams 2nd

Teams Second
Tom Slater, Alan Jarvis, Suzy Lawson, Rob Dixon
Teams 3rd

Teams Third
Mary Green, Victor Ridding, Janet Tolan, Barbara Lewis

B teams 1st

Secondary Teams Winners
Nicholas Greer, Neil Thomas, John Parsons, Josh Clarke
B Teams 2nd

Secondary Teams Second
Mia Deschepper, Ceri Pierce, Gilly Clench (Adrian Thomas)

C Teams Winners

Consolation Teams Winners
Fiona Brown, Mark Weeks, (Helen Erichsen, Ollie Burgess)

Open Trials

The final stage of the England trials for the European Open took place in London from 3rd-6th January.  Michael Byrne played with Kieran Dyke and finished fourth.  Ten pairs took part, with the top two guaranteed selection.  See the EBU web site for results.