In preparation for the APBF kicking off on Tuesday 11 June, we are catching up with some of the international squad heading overseas. Today we meet Brian Mace, member of the Bridge Masters.
Brian started playing bridge at age 14. Born and bred in the UK, he was heading off with a friend and his parents on winter break holiday to Majorca, when they found themselves stranded at Bristol airport owing to fog. What better time thought Brian’s parents, to teach a captive audience of two 14 year olds bridge. Brian recalls his holiday was notable for two firsts – playing bridge and drinking too much.
He can remember his parents having friends round for a game of rubber bridge at home each week and he would sit and watch. He played many other card games, but it was at age 14 he started bridge.
Brian represented New Zealand in 1992 in the Olympiad Open team and the last time he represented his country was in 2000 in the Bermuda Bowl.
He has been to Singapore several times, usually as stopovers on flights to Europe. He was part of the team that got the AJ Hackett Bungee jump established in Singapore - doing some consultancy work with them on safety analysis. Brian confesses he has not tried it and does not have plans to do so on this trip!
Brian’s message to the everyday bridge player is to enjoy it. "Decide what you want from bridge – and if you want to succeed with your partner you need to talk about your mistakes and learn from them. Set aside time after play to go through boards." Brian said he’s been learning a lot this way in the last 6 decades! He is hoping he doesn’t have to learn anything in Singapore. His sage words which he intends to follow in Singapore were: “Don’t let the last mistake affect the next hand.”
Brian explained how he sees the international programme as increasing the profile of the game/sport within NZ. "It is an expensive exercise for the representatives. They have their accommodation and living costs to cover from personal funds. It costs a lot. Any assistance is extremely welcome" and he would like to thank the club players who give assistance in this way by contributing from their annual sub to the international programme. His hope is that the internationals promote sport in New Zealand for future years.
Brian was influenced by the time of year in his naming of his favourite vegetable. Right now he says it is sprouts, not overdone. His star sign is Gemini and he will be celebrating his birthday in Singapore. He is hoping his captain will give him the morning off on the day after.
Brian and his international playing partner Tom Jacob play Standard European: 5 card majors, 14-17 NT, 4 card diamond, 2+ clubs.
Brian and Tom have played off and on for about 28 years. They started in 1991, playing regularly during the 90s. Then Brian went overseas in 2000. He returned in 2011. He says that they feel very well prepared for APBF and have very good close agreements on bidding.
Brian was born in Glasgow but spent most of his life being brought up in Bath in the West Country. He attended Keble College, Oxford where he studied engineering science.
Brian lives in Mairangi Bay and is a semi-retired professor at the University of Auckland teaching mecatronics. (for those not in the know - integration of mechanical engineering and computer and electronics)
Brian’s home club is Akarana.
When asked what it meant to Brian to be representing New Zealand he replied, “I think of myself very much as a Kiwi, and look upon it as representing my country. I am proud to be travelling on my NZ passport, having made the commitment to New Zealand as my country by taking citizenship a year ago”. We wish Brian the best of luck in the upcoming championship and we can start following the progress of the Bridge Masters from TUESDAY 11 JUNE 4.30pm. Make a note in your diary now! Tomorrow we catch up with Michael Whibley from the Bridge Blacks and learn of his