Jonathan Davis has been playing bridge for many years and (letting you into a secret) sometimes wishes that he had done what Andrew Robson did at university, which was to major in bridge rather than spend so much time in conventional academic study. After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in History, he trained as a journalist with Westminster Press, including a spell as a reporter on the Oxford Mail and Times, before moving into national newspapers as a specialist writer about business and investment and then into the investment business itself.
His career includes senior positions at The Times, The Economist and Independent, a spell as the founding City Editor of The Week and more recently freelance investment columns for The Independent, Financial Times and Spectator. Having qualified as a professional investor, he is currently a Senior Adviser at Saunderson House and writes for his own private circulation investment network. He has written four books about investment and one about bridge. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment and recently moved back to Oxford after several years living in London. This is his website.
“Why I love bridge”
Bridge is such an endlessly fascinating game and is one whose appeal has waxed, rather than waned, as I have grown older. Although my professional career has prevented me from playing much tournament bridge until recently, I have been fortunate to have been been able to play a lot of civilised, high stakes money bridge as a member of the Portland Club in London for the past 15 years and as a regular visitor to the Andrew Robson Bridge Club in London.
Having recently moved back to Oxford, it seemed an obvious idea to try and give back something to the game which has given me so much pleasure over so many years. It did not take me long to realise that the best way to do that was in a collaborative venture with Andrew Robson, my friend and periodic partner/opponent at the bridge table. One of the highlights of my year is the chance to spend a week with Andrew playing non-stop bridge for seven days at Stuart Wheeler’s annual Chicago gathering in Tangier. There is no better player or teacher in the UK.
Why so? Because Andrew has demonstrated over the past 25 years that he is quite simply a brilliant teacher. His clear, logical and hands on practical approach to teaching – coupled with his insistence that anyone playing the game at his club must do so in a friendly and polite spirit – mirrors exactly the approach that I take myself. More importantly it is evident that his methods have been tried and tested over a quarter of a century and it would be difficult to improve on them.
Many years ago, in between working on other things, I wrote an introductory illustrated guide to learning bridge, which was translated into several languages, and has sold tens of thousands of copies. I am in the process of preparing a new version to bring it up to date. I very much hope that I can share my knowledge and enthusiasm about this wonderful game with a new generation of learners. It is my strong belief that bridge offers something for everyone, young and old alike, and it should most definitely be played for fun.
If you live in or near Oxford, please feel free to contact me and let me know how I could help improve your game. As well as scheduled courses, I have a particular interest in organising learn-as-you-play private games for groups of friends where you can play as many set hands as you wish and find out as you go what you could have done differently – and why. I also offer private lessons on demand for more advanced players.
Learn Bridge in a Weekend is the book about bridge that I wrote back in the 1990s. It is an illustrated Dorling Kindersley book that takes you through the rudiments of the game with copious colour photography and illustration – quite innovative for its time. I am working on a new version that will cover the subject in more detail, and also take advantage of the opportunities which new media create for different types of educational material, such as videos and interactive online learning. (I also badly want to update one of the photographs of the author, which caught me on a bad day!). Although currently out of print, it has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Polish and Hungarian.