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Tom TOWNSEND

Tom Ŕ nato il 19 febbraio del 1971 a Wokingham una cittadina una ventina di Km ad Est di Reading ed ha conosciuto il bridge in casa giocando con i suoi parenti quando aveva una decina di anni, lo ha perfezionato durante i suoi studi al Wellington College e alla Cambridge University, dove ha legato il primo vero sodalizio agonistico con Jeffrey Allerton.

Oggi vive tra Londra e Varsavia con la sua compagna Ewa Kater, una World Women Master  polacca, ed il loro figlioletto Max.

 Nel 1993 entra sulla scena internazionale conquistando l'argento nei Campionati Universitari che si  svolgono ad Anversa e si conferma un anno dopo vincendo i Campionati Giovanili Europei che si svolgono  a Papendale in Olanda.

 Ad oggi, oltre alcune prestigiose vittorie in campo nazionale fa parte della nazionale britannica con la quale vanta la conquista della medaglia di bronzo agli Europei Open di  Tenerife nel 2005 e la Finale Olimpica del 2008 a Pechino.

 World International Master, regolare articolista del Daily Telegraph, oltre al Bridge ama il backgammon e le corse dei cavalli.

  Tom was born in 1971 in Wokingham a town twenty miles east of Reading and has known the bridge at home playing with his relatives, he perfected during his studies at Wellington College and Cambridge University, where he tied the first true partnership with Jeffrey Allerton.

 Townsend has been a regular British and England international for over two decades.  He is a World Bridge Federation World International Master. Townsend, since 30 September 2013, has been the Monday-Friday bridge columnist for The Daily Telegraph.

 He now lives between London and Warsaw with his partner Ewa Kater, a Polish World Women Master, and their little son Max.

Both liked five-card majors but Tom favoured the weak no trump at the time and Jeffrey preferred strong so we tossed for it and he won. He has never played weak since by choice. They played on the British team in the 1994 Junior European which still ranks as his  most exciting experience in bridge. They were second going into the final match against France but well behind Denmark. They bid a hand to 3NT with queen-doubleton facing jack-doubleton spade, one down. Worse, the Hackett twins (Justin & Jason) had conceded 6NT, declining to lead the spade ace. This didn't stop us winning our match handily, and his Norwegian friends had blitzed the Danes. Tom was stunned - they had won the gold! The same team (the others were Danny Davies, Phil Souter, captain Raymond Brock and coach Phil King) went onto Bali the next year to win the World Junior in some comfort. You can see that the 2004 England team is a partial "Class Of 1995" reunion.

He was now playing and writing about bridge professionally. Naturally drawn to the high-stake rubber bridge clubs in London , he  spent most of his late-twenties at TGR's in Marble Arch, including an educational spell as the house player in the "Big Game". Various degenerates at the club introduced him to backgammon and punting on sport and horses, all of which he found of interest.

On the duplicate side he was partnering many partners of varying abilities, most successfully David Mossop (two British Premier Leagues and a Spring Fours) and David Price (two Crockfords, one Camrose trial). Price and Tom were invited to the last Macallan Pairs in 1999. We didn't win but we did play against Omar Sharif, the only thing non-bridge players need to know about his career.

He have also won in Indonesia partnering Les Steel , Malta with Robert Sheehan and China with Phil King and Nick Sandqvist, with whom he became a Mind Sports Grandmaster to add to the EBU version. Like a few other experts the domestic trophy that eludes him is the Gold Cup.

2000 started badly. His team lost the final play-off to go to the Olympiad and Price and Mossop had formed a partnership in an entirely understandable joint bid to avoid partnering him. Tom's bridge was getting stale and other activities were beginning to appeal more.

He left for 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, to captain the English juniors. They didn't win but some good came out of it. One of the team clearly had outstanding talent and seemed to share my approach to bridge, so he suggested his partner in the Four Stars teams at Brighton that August.

David Gold and Tom won that event. They formed a regular partnership which we have been working on since, representing England in six Camrose matches without defeat, winning two Tollemaches, the Brighton Bowl, the IMP pairs in Marbella and coming back from 47 IMPs down in their eight extra boards as undefeated team to reach the final of the Spring Fours.  Their efforts were rewarded when they romped home in the 2003/4 team trials with John Armstrong and Danny Davies, qualifying to represent England in the European and Olympiad.

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