Noorul is the Acol's manager and a self-confessed bridge addict. He is renowned for his charm and patience towards all those who enjoy playing or learning the great game of bridge. Generally Mr Happy 364 days of the year, he is known to be a bit of a misery on Xmas day – the one day of the year the Acol is closed. When time permits, his culinary skills give the Acol an extra dimension that no other bridge club could hope to match.
Alex is a real triumph for the club’s teaching programme. He is club taught, whizzing through from Beginners to Advanced in no time. How nice to be young! Our Improver of the Year 2011, he now combines supervising at the club with being a maths teacher at The UCL Academy. Check out the ‘Learning Ladder’, it does suggest that after completing the Advanced course the next step is ‘Teach at the Club’.
Another club taught protégé Lucy is instrumental in the smooth functioning of the Acol. A music teacher at the prestigious Alleyn’s School by day, she loves to play bridge of an evening. What little time is left she spends administering the club’s Holidays and Ladders with consummate efficiency. Woe betide dissenters or malingerers – LKB – Lucy Knows Best. Oft heard quoting Andrew’s bidding notes – at Andrew!
The Bulgarian Mafia
Already an accomplished player on arrival from Varna, it is not just his bridge skills which are of benefit to the Acol. His youthful dynamism and enthusiasm have been instrumental in many of the improvements you see around the club. Loves life in London, his only (but frequent) complaint is the pitiful size and taste of British veg, particularly tomatoes. In 2014 he came agonizingly close to winning Britain's most prestigious event, the Gold Cup.
Stefan's better half, and a fine player herself. Represented the Bulgaria Womens team in the European Championship in 2014 and will doubtless continue to do so for many decades to come. Dessy doesn’t like tomatoes, so has no problem with London life at all. She is now the Acol's unofficial in-house artist and graphic designer.
Petar has now become a massive part of the club, occasionally working EVERY session of the week and is everyone's favourite partner at the Club. Also a Bulgarian junior international, he moved to London a year ago to work at the Acol. Unfortunately he supports Manchester United and can be seen wearing the shirt when his team are playing/losing.
Our First Viking, from Tromso in the far, far north of Norway. Instantly smashed the club record for downing a pint of lager (drinking is not an appropriate word for what Scandis do when confronted with a full glass of beer). A teacher by professional training and already National Pairs Champion, he has proved an excellent teacher and supervisor. His ‘Minestrone Soup’ sessions have really rounded out the clubs teaching programme.
Frances runs the Tuesday/Thursday morning Supervised/Gentle Dupe sessions, which are now two of the club’s most fun and successful. A professional bridge and private maths teacher, she made us all very proud recently, representing the English Ladies team in the Home International Series. Go Frances!
Brian was one of Andrew’s first students and has gone on to accrue many bridge honours. The only member of the team to openly admit reading the Daily Mail, he is known as ‘the voice of the people’. His well-considered views on bridge could start a ‘lively debate’ in an empty room.
On slow players – ‘Hang them’
On players who fail to follow suit – ‘Off with their heads’
On partners in general – ‘Pah’
A very popular partner nonetheless.
Laura is from Italy, via Scotland. She is a natural teacher and supervisor and represents the Scottish Womens team. Having finished her Phd in Philosophy she combines her club work with trying to keep the NHS afloat and playing the flute to an absurdly high standard. As such she provides a (possibly much needed) touch of culture and class. She has never even heard of the Daily Mail.