Nicola GARDENER SMITH
Nicola Gardener è nata il 28 aprile del 1949 a Londra dove vive tuttora e dove nel 1983 ha sposato Jonathan Smith dal quale ha avuto due figli.
Nicola, che lavora come insegnante di bridge nella famosa London School Bridge, è una tifosa fanatica del Liverpool e pratica giornalmente lo yoga.
La sua è una famiglia di bridgisti, che annovera campionissimi come la madre Pat (foto a dx) e il padre Nico.
Come giocatrice, Nicola è, tra quelle inglesi, una delle più grandi di sempre, tanto da aver guadagnato il titolo di World Women Grand Master con il quale occupa stabilmente una delle prime 30 posizioni e la prima per il suo Paese.
Agli inizi ha giocato con Rita Oldroid, poi con Sandra Landy, poi ancora con la Oldroid e con Pat Davies, oggi forma la "coppia di ferro" del team femminile inglese con Heather Dondhy.
Nicola ha vinto 8 Campionati Europei a Squadre femminili, 2 Venice Cup, più un gran numero di importanti tornei nazionali tra i quali la prestigiosa Gold Cup.
Nel 2007 ha conquistato l'argento negli Europei Femminili a Squadre e nel 2008 a Pechino ha finalmente vinto l'Olimpiade Femminile successo poi bissato nel 2012 che, per quanto riguarda i Giochi Olimpici, è stata l'apoteosi di una carriera davvero incredibile che in 36 anni annovera 2 ori, 4 argenti ed un bronzo!
Nel 2011 ha conquistato l'argento nel primo World Mind nella Categoria Women Individuals e nel 2013 lo stesso metallo nella Venice Cup di Bali.
Nel 2014 sale nuovamente sul podio vincendo l'argento ai Campionati Europei a Squadre Femminili, l'oro ai World Bridge Series Women Teams e agli Individual Women World Mind Games.
Nel 2016 guadagna il bronzo agli IMSA Elite Mind Games seguito dall'oro nel Campionato Europeo a Squadre Femminili.
Nel 2017 è stata eletta nella nascitura casa della fama della EBL ed ha conquistato l'argento nella Venice Cup e negli Elite Mind Games, mentre, nel 2018 ha guadagnato l'argento nella McConnell.
La regina Elisabetta II l'ha inserita nell'Ordine dell'Impero Britannico in virtù dei suoi meriti sportivi.
Nicola Smith (born 1949 in London) has been a leading English bridge player for over thirty years, with many successes in international competition to her credit. She was a member of the British teams which won the Venice Cup, the women's world championship, in 1981 and 1985, and which finished second in 1976. She played in nine successive World Team Olympiads, which were held every four years until 2004, winning the silver medal on four occasions and one bronze medal. She has won the European Women's Teams on seven occasions (1975, 1979, 1981, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2012). She won the Generali World Women's Individual event in 1994. In 2008 e 2012, she was part of the formidable English Ladies team that won the Gold at the first World Mind Sport Games (the successor competition to the Olympiad) in Beijing, China partnering Sally Brock.
She was only sixteen when she played in her first international tournament, at Deauville, winning the teams event in a team which included her father, Nico Gardener, and the young Paul Chemla. She made her representative international debut in the European Championships in Estoril in 1970, partnering Dorothy Shanahan and finishing fourth.
She won the premier British domestic competition, the Gold Cup, in 1984 and 1991. She has played twice for England’s Open team in the Camrose Trophy, which is competed for by the national teams within the British Isles. In 1998, partnering Pat Davies, she was second in the prestigious Macallan Invitational Pairs (previously known as the Sunday Times Invitational Pairs). She considers this one of her finest achievements.
She comes from a notable bridge family, her parents, Pat and Nico Gardener, both having played for Britain. She ran the London School of Bridge, which her father had founded in 1952, for many years. She still teaches bridge.
In 1983, she took part in a televised match arranged by the BBC between teams representing Britain and the United States. The British team was Tony Priday, Claude Rodrigue, Nicola Gardener (as she then was) and Pat Davies. The US team was Neil Silverman, Matthew Granovetter, Jacqui Mitchell and Gail Moss. The British team won by 32 international match points over 78 deals in seven sessions. The match subsequently formed the basis of a book, in which she was described as follows: "...one of the finest women players in the world.
Not only is she an excellent technician – truly, the daughter of her father Nico Gardener – but is equally aggressive and imaginative both in bidding and defence.
In 2011 she won the silver medal in first edition of World Mind Women Individuals and in 2013 the silver medal in Venice Cup followed by same metal in the 2014 European Women Teams Championships and the gold medal in World Bridge Series Women Teams and in Individual World Women Games. In 2016 she earn the bronze medal in IMSA Elite Mind Games and the gold medal in the European Women Teams.
She won 8 European Women's Team and she was awarded the MBE in 1995 for her services to bridge.
In 2017 he was elected home-born of the EBL fame and earned the silver medal in the Venice Cup and in the Elite Mind Games, while, in 2018 she earned the silver medal in McConnell.
Queen Elizabeth II put it in the Order of the British Empire because of its sporting merits.
Outside bridge she has worked as a business administrator, but has recently been training to be a healer. She married Jonathan Smith in 1983; they have two children.
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