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2022 News and Results

Sad News

Martin Stephens from Edinburgh, but now living in Yorkshire, died on June 4th.

He was well known to Manchester players at Trafford Bridge Club and Manchester Bridge Club where he made occasional appearances over the last few years when working in Wilmslow.

He often played in national competitions with Michael Byrne and recently played in the Spring Foursomes with a number of former junior players.  He is survived by his wife and three young children.

Lance Bloohn

Lance died on the 28th May after a long illness.  He was a well known club player in the Manchester area playing regularly for very many years at the Manchester and Cheadle clubs.  There is an obituary on the Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme web site.

Mike Burtt 1937-2022

Mike Burtt who has died at the age of 84 was mainly noted in the bridge world as a teacher who taught hundreds, if not thousands, of beginners at Manchester Bridge Club.  He set up a successful tv repair company when he was young.  At the age of 39 he took up bridge, helping to form Warrington Bridge Club in 1979.  The following year he started teaching at Manchester where he taught for many decades.  He was noted for his patient and considerate approach.  He was also an enthusiastic collector dealing in postcards, letters, stamps and books.  He was a keen rubber bridge player at the Manchester club.

Condolences to his wife Lynda (one of his former pupils).

Mike Burtt

Mike Burtt at the Commonwealth Games event in 2002

National Inter County League Final

The Manchester B team finished third in the national finals on Saturday 21st May.  They had qualified for the final by winning the B division of the Northern League in 2021.  The team was Pete Foster/John Roberts, Royce Alexander/Raymond Semp, Roger Hopton/David Fussell, Phillip Taylor/Josh Clarke.  Pete and John were our best pair on cross imps.  Results are here.

Teltscher Trophy

The Seniors Home Internationals took place from 20th to 22nd May in Northern Ireland.  Playing for England were John Holland and Gary Hyett from Manchester.  England finished second to Scotland.

For more information and results click here


The Manchester League has been running over the winter with most matches being played online but some face to face.

In division one congratulations to Inverted Minors (David Barton, Rhona Goldenfield, Joy & Irving Blakey) who have won ahead of Kath Nelson's Agamemnon (with Jeff Morris, John Hassett and Trevor Ward).  This is David's first win in the league; Irving and Joy last won the league in 1990.

In division two congratulations to Proteus (David Audley, Bob Cooke, Ian Kane, Howard Kay and Neil Thomas) who have won, second place went to Roger Hopton's New Connections.

Congratulations to AZ Stars who have won division three.  The team is Barbara Drewery, Claire Freeman, David Milne, Nigel Morgan, Alison Morgan-Milnes and Debbie Townsend.  Ted Cadman's Midland Railway team were a close second.

Division four has been won by Manchester Misfits (Nigel Howarth, Hannah Hutchinson, Enid Noronha and Ron Lowe) who just pipped Allsorts in the final match.

Congratulations also to Revolver (Adrian Shiers, Jeffrey Bor, Jonathan Berg and Howard Rosemarine) who have won division five.

Points for the league have been entered on the Player of the Year spreadsheet.

Garden Cities

Congratulations to the Manchester Bridge Club team who have qualified for the National Final of the Garden Cities team of eight event by finishing fourth in the Northern regional heat on May 8th.  The team was Dave Debbage/Eve Lighthill, John Hassett/Jeff Morris, Andrew Woodcock/Paul Murray, Irene Davies/Karen Reissmann.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Ian Pendlebury

We are sorry to report the death of Ian Pendlebury at the age of 72.  Ian was a very active player when he was younger, reaching the rank of Grand Master and winning a couple of national competitions (the National Masters pairs with Pauline Rudolf and the Silver Plate with David Smith).  He played for Staffordshire in county events at that time often with David Smith.  Latterly, after playing little for a while, he returned to play mainly with Chris Barnard at Bramhall, also in Mike Hart's league team.  He had no close family.

Schapiro Spring Foursomes

The Schapiro Spring Fours double elimination tournament took place from Friday 29th April to Tuesday 4th May in Warwick.  Manchester players involved were John Holland and Gary Hyett in the Penfold team and Michael Byrne in the Knottenbelt team.  Josh Clarke, Nicholas Greer and Phil Taylor played in the Taylor team.  All the Manchester teams lost in the main competition in round 4 with the Taylor team having done exceptionally well to get that far. 

The Knottenbelt team won the Punchbowl, the secondary event.

Results are on the EBU web site.

Jeff Smith 70

As part of Jeff Smith's 70th celebrations he held an individual at Bolton Bridge Club on 24th April.  There were 24 participants.  Congratulations to Alan Nelson who won, one match point ahead of Michael Byrne.  Thanks to Jeff for organising and providing the buffet.  Thanks also to Alec Smalley for directing and Jackie Pye and others for their help.

Jeff Smith Individual


The final of the Goldstone Trophy will be, as is fairly common, between Jeff Morris's team (John Hassett, Catherine Draper, Andrew Woodcock) and Michael Byrne's team (John Holland, Alan Mould, Gary Hyett, Rodney Lighton).  The winners will represent Manchester in the Pachabo.

Northern Easter Festival

Congratulations to Barbara Lewis and Alec Smalley who won the Swiss Pairs at Ilkley on April 16th just ahead of John Holland and Jackie Pye.  Results are here.

In the teams on Sunday Alec won again, this time with Tom Slater, Rhona Goldenfield and Jeff Smith.  Results

Ben Franks

The Ben Franks pairs event was held on Sunday 10th April 11.00 am at Bramhall and Cheadle Bridge Centre.  This was the 2021 event postponed from December. 

14 pairs competed, with Rodney Lighton and Tom Dessain making a late rush from third to first place over the last couple of rounds, winning ahead of Martin Taylor and Justin Hackett.  This was Tom's first win in a Manchester event since moving to the county a couple of years ago.  Rodney has won the Ben Franks twice before.

This was Manchester's qualifying event for the Corwen Trophy.  The leading four pairs with primary allegiance to Manchester qualified for the EBU's Corwen Trophy.  They were John Holland/Raymond Semp, Alec Smalley/Barbara Lewis, Steve Mattinson/Rod Franks and Karen Reissman/Irene Davies.

Thanks to Adam Wiseberg, Irene Davies and Barbara Lewis for organising and to Adam for directing.

Results are on the Manchester Events site

In the Player of the Year Rodney Lighton increased his lead in the expert category while Barbara Eastabrook leapt into the lead in the non-expert category.

Ben F winners

Winners Rodney Lighton and Tom Dessain

Ben Franks 2nd

Second Justin Hackett and Martin Taylor

World Bridge Championships

The World Championships took place in Salsomaggiore, Italy from 27th March to 9th April.  This was the 2021 event postponed because of Covid.

Manchester were well represented.  Michael Byrne played with Kieran Dyke in the Bermuda Bowl with Mike Bell/Ben Norton and Tom Townsend/David Bakhshi completing the team.  In the Venice Cup Catherine Draper played with Gillian Fawcett with Sally Brock/Fiona Brown and Heather Dhondy/Nevena Senior.  In the d'Orsi Senior Trophy John Holland and John Hassett played with Paul Hackett/Brian Senior and Gunnar Hallberg/David Mossop.

Congratulations to the Open and Women's teams who qualified for the knockout phase by finishing fifth and second respectively.  Commiserations to the Senior team who were in a qualifying place until the last two matches when they lost both and slipped to 13th place.

In a close match in the Open England lost the quarter finals to Switzerland who were fielding two world class pairs.  The match featured some excellent play by the England team.  In the Venice Cup England won their quarter final match against France fairly comfortably, but lost to a talented Turkey team in the semi-finals.

Here is a link to a brilliantly played hand by Michael Byrne in the quarter finals.  Click repeatedly on Next to follow the play.  Note how Michael cleverly false cards in hearts to induce a heart continuation and then endplays South to get a ninth trick.  (Thanks to John Roberts for reporting this).

Link to the results.

MCBA Council Meeting

The spring meeting of the MCBA took place online on Thursday 24th March. The main outcomes of the meeting were that the AGM will now be held online on 26th May, the Higson Finals will be held face to face on Sunday June 19th (venue to be arranged) and Raymond Semp will be organising a charity par contest on 26th June in aid of Parkinson's Disease Research.

Minutes of the meeting are on the documents page.

National Pairs

Congratulations to Irving and Joy Blakey who won the Northern Pairs played online on 13th March.  Results are are the EBU site.

Senior Trials

Trials for the Senior Europeans took place from 11th to 14th March at Coventry Bridge Club.  Eleven pairs competed for three places.  Manchester interest was provided by John Holland/Gary Hyett and Jeff Morris/John Hassett.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Gary and John finished fourth, with John and Jeff sixth.  The top three pairs qualified.


The Goldstone semi-finalists are now all decided.  St Titus (Michael Byrne) will play Imposter System (Irene Davies) and Jeff Morris will play Grasshoppers (Alec Smalley).   The winners of the competition get to play in the Pachabo.

Manchester County Cares

At very short notice, Espen Gisvold organised a duplicate in aid of Ukraine on 6th March.  He and I are humbled, once again, by the incredible generosity of our members.  The horrors of this hideous war on a peaceful nation have affected us all, so we say a huge thank you to everyone for supporting our fundraising efforts.  If anyone else wants to donate via our Manchester Events site I will wait until the end of the week before sending the money off.

Joy Blakey

MCBA treasurer

One Day Green Point Swiss Pairs

The SwissPairs attracted an entry of 23 pairs on Saturday 5th March at Bramhall and Cheadle Bridge Centre.  To avoid having a half table or 3-way matches a pair of robots played as the 24th pair.

Congratulations to Nicholas Greer and Phillip Taylor who won all their matches to finish 5 VPs ahead of second prize winners Michael Byrne and Fiona Brown.  This is Phillip's first win in a major county competition.  Rodney Lighton and Tom Dessain, playing together for the first time, were third.  First in the non-expert category were Paul Jones and Linda Williams, with Richard Cross and Diana Calvert second.

Everyone seemed to enjoy face to face bridge, only the second county event that has been held live for two years.

Thanks to Rhona Goldenfield for organising, Adam Wiseberg for directing and to Barbara Lewis and Bramhall members for hosting.

The Player of the Year spreadsheet has been updated belatedly.  Rodney Lighton overtook Raymond Semp in the expert category, Karen Jones still leads the non-expert category.

Detailed results are on the Manchester Online Events site.


Winners Nicholas Greer and Phillip Taylor

Second prize Michael Byrne and Fiona Brown

Third prize Tom Dessain and Rodney Lighton
Last round

Last round top score Tom Slater and Alec Smalley
Non-expert 1st

Non-expert first Paul Jones and Linda Williams
Non-expert 2nd

Non-expert second Diana Calvert and Richard Cross

Director Adam Wiseberg

Tollemache Final

The inter counties team of eight final took place on the weekend of 19-20th February on RealBridge.  Manchester qualified in November, winning their group by a narrow margin.

Manchester started well with a 14-6 win against a strong London team.  However, this was followed by a large loss to the winners Gloucestershire.  After that a mixture of results left Manchester in fifth place out of eight.

The Manchester team was Michael Byrne/Alec Smalley, John Holland/John Hassett, Catherine Draper/Andrew Woodcock, Gary Hyett/Alan Mould/Rodney Lighton.  John and John were our best pair with Michael and Alec also positive on the cross imps.

Results are on the EBU site.

Harrogate Spring Congress

Congratulations to Catherine Draper (playing with Gillian Fawcett), John Hassett and Andrew Woodcock who finished second in the Swiss Teams on 13th Feb, also to Martin Hurley and Ben Anwyl who were third in the nine high pairs.  Results are on the EBU web site.

European Womens Trial

Congratulation to Catherine Draper who, playing with Catherine Seale of London, finished third in the trials from 4th-7th February at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club.  They will play in the European Championships in Madeira in June.  Results are on the EBU web site.

Gazette Trophy

The county inter club teams of eight competition was held on Sunday 6th February online on RealBridge. 

Congratulations to Manchester Bridge Club who won convincingly and therefore qualify for the EBU Garden Cities competition.  Their team was Rhona Goldenfield/John Hassett, Andrew Woodcock/Paul Murray, Eve Lighthill/Dave Debbage, Irene Davies/Karen Reissmann.  Bramhall & Cheadle Hulme were second with Altrincham third.  Six teams entered, Manchester had another team, Bramhall and Cheadle had two other teams.  The first three Manchester pairs were the top three in the cross imp ranking.

The PotY spreadsheet has been updated, Raymond Semp still leads the expert category, Karen Jones now has a clear lead in the non-expert category.

Thanks to Irene Davies and Adam Wiseberg for organising and to Ken Johnson for directing.

Results are on the Manchester Events site

Dorset Swiss Teams

Congratulations to Raymond Semp, Rhona Goldenfield, Joy and Irving Blakey who finished third in a large field on 30th January.  Results are here.

Teltscher Trials at MBC

Manchester Bridge Club hosted the trials for the England team for the seniors home internationals from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th January.  Congratulations to Gary Hyett and John Holland who finished second after leading most of the weekend, they will represent England in the Teltscher Trophy in Northern Ireland in May.

Results are on the EBU site.

Thanks to Manchester Bridge Club for their hospitality, the competitors found the venue comfortable and the helpers friendly.  Thanks to Sam Knox and Paul Broadley for vugraph, Anne Naylor, Dave Fernley, Peter Wilson, Paul Jones and Vera Lowson for hosting.


Playing with screens at Manchester Bridge Club
In the foreground John Holland and Barry Myers

New Clubs

Welcome to three new clubs in the Manchester area which have affiliated recently.  Adam Wiseberg Club which meets online only, Chorley Monday Bridge Club which meets, unsurprisingly, on Mondays near Alderley Edge and Larkhill, which meets online on RealBridge at the moment.

EBU Mixed Trials

The second and final stage of the EBU mixed trials took place from 14th-16th Jan on RealBridge.  Congratulations to Michael Byrne, playing with Sarah Bell, who finished in second place.  The top three pairs will be invited to play for England in the European mixed teams.  The results are on the EBU web site.

Manchester Congress

The pairs event held on RealBridge on Saturday attracted a field of 46 pairs, with entrants from Norway, Estonia, London, Cambridge and other far flung places as well as a good entry from Manchester pairs.

Winners of the Michelle Brunner Trophy were Imogen La Chapelle and Stefano Tommasini from London who had a large lead of about 8% at half time, they held on to this until the penultimate round when Julian Wightwick and John Liebeschutz from Cambridge overtook them briefly.  However, a complete top on the last board restored their lead.  In third place were  Royce Alexander and Raymond Semp (probably the oldest player competing).  Jackie Pye and John Holland were fourth.  Men's Pairs title goes to Julian and John, Mixed Pairs to Jackie and John and the Ladies Pairs to Ros Hunt and Janet Tolan. 

The Player of the Year spreadsheet has been updated.  Raymond Semp is now leading the expert category, Karen Jones and Barbara Eastabrook the non-expert category.  (No expert points were awarded for the Championship Teams final as no Manchester team finished in the top five).

In the Player's Progress Cup for Improvers winners were Nigel Catterall and Phil Hayward with Graham Fletcher and Heather Saunders second and Ben Anwyl and Martin Hurley third.  Eleven pairs competed.

The Bernard Goldenfield Trophy was competed for by 21 teams on Sunday.  After a qualifying session the top eight teams played in the final, the other thirteen in the consolation final.  Congratulations to the Devon team of Harry Anoyrkatis, Rob Lawy, Stefan Lindors and Jim Grant who won just 0.1 VPs ahead of the Norwegian team (Tonje Brogeland, Dag Stokkvik, Lisbeth Glaerum and Ole Arild Birset) with Sally Brock, Jovanka Smedervac, Mike Scoltock and Barry Myers third.

The Consolation final was won by Paul Barden, Claire Robinson, Imogen La Chapelle and Stefano Tommasini with Marianne Farr, Rhona Goldenfield, Joy and Irving Blakey second.

The Sunday event for improvers, the Kevin Comrie Cup was competed for by fifteen pairs.  Winners were Chris Cleaver and Mark Gomme, with John Moran and Farokh Engineer second and Christine Richardson and Sheila Wimbleton third.

Results are on the Manchester Online Events site

Thanks to Adam Wiseberg, Alec Smalley and Victor Ridding for directing and to Barbara Lewis and Joy Blakey for organising.

Manchester Congress Quiz

The 15th edition of Michael Byrne's fiendish quiz.

Link to Michael's quiz

Link to answers for Michael's quiz