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Simon Stocken
Simon Stocken
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I am salaried part-time to teach bridge to kids and in schools. I am the sole employee of the David Davenport Fund in the UK - a CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) registered fund dedicated to bringing bridge into schools and to teaching the game to children. There is great progress happening in particular in Belfast within the UK - teaching bridge in curriculum time is I believe the 'golden goose'

I also travel extensively on my own time and money to play bridge and connect with bridge teachers and players around the world. I am looking to discover best practice and innovative methods used across the globe to discover what works well and thereby create methods that will hopefully be useful to all involved in bringing more players (especially the young) into the game of bridge.

I've been a bridge teacher most of my life, the first of my family to choose it as a profession. Now all three siblings and both parents are also bridge-teachers. I helped Andrew Robson establish his club on the Fulham Road in London in 1995 after working with him at the Acol Bridge club in West Hampstead. I met Andrew while in the England U25 squad partnering both my brothers in turn. Shortly after completing my Classics degree at Oxford I knocked on the door of The London School of Bridge and landed a job running the rubber bridge game a couple of nights a week. Andrew Robson gave me my first full-time bridge job  at the Acol club a few months later. He is still an ally and very supportive in bringing more young people into the game.

I enjoy systems: testing and analysing them while attempting to probe and fix inherent weaknesses. Bridge systems have the same appeal for me, although I've not had a regular partner I have spent many hours devising the weird and wonderful. I prefer natural methods. I grew up reading every bridge book I could find (and we had a lot) as the whole family started playing competitively in England in the 80s. Victor Mollo and his menagerie introduced me to the delights of the game. I'm a fan of Phil King's offerings also (along with his father). Adventures in Cardplay is one of my favourites along with the Reese over-the-shoulder books, all of which I revisit regularly. My bridge hero would be Zia - Bridge My Way is still one of the greats and he is a fine dilpomat for the game.

I have attended three NABCs (Phoenix 2003, Vegas 2014 and Toronto 2017) and played bridge in places as diverse as Seoul, Botswana, Colombia and Iceland. World-wide, the game of bridge has introduced me to communities and people and made me some friends for life. The HCL in Delhi is still my favourite tournament for the wonderful hospitality (great food too) and i will be returning in August 2019 to play there again.

I even played some bridge on the top of Mt Kilimanjaro. I sponsored the porters to carry a table and chairs up so that we might raise extra money for the charity Ace Africa. I have also taught in Khayeliitsha town-ship outside Cape Town.

I am also a writer, semi-professional poker player and a maker of bespoke wooden jigsaw puzzles. The Queen has several of my puzzles and I was featured on the cover of the EBU magazine in 2002 with a 2512 piece, multi-layer puzzle I presented to HM for her Golden Jubilee. My writings remain unpublished.

http://www.bridge4kids.co.uk

 

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