Brian Senior is a full-time bridge professional. He plays as a professional partner or team-mate, is a bridge teacher, and a bridge journalist. While he has written many other books on the game, he is perhaps best known as the editor, publisher, and a major contributor to the official world championship book each year.
Brian has, at different times, represented Great Britain, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland in international competition, and has won all the major EBU Teams competitions at least once. As a widely travelled player, he has also won bridge tournaments on every continent except Antarctica.
Brian is married to Nevena, a regular member of England’s highly successful Women’s team, and has a 15-year old daughter, Katya. Away from bridge his interests include sport, particularly cricket, cinema, theatre and reading – mostly SF and fantasy, history and biographies. One of the benefits of being widely travelled for bridge, is that he also gets to try a lot of different foreign foods.
Last updated: May 2014
Top Table Interview: April 2014
When did you start playing bridge?
Back in my early to mid-teens, my grandmother taught me many different card games, including bridge.
How often do you play?
I play very little club bridge, but play tournaments at weekends and, if anybody wants to take me, events overseas. One of the best things about the job I do is the opportunity to visit so many interesting places, so if anyone out there wants to employ a grumpy old bridge for a foreign tournament - I'm your man!
Do you always play with the same partners / team-mates? I play with many different partners and team-mates, though I do have some regulars. What do I expect from them? That they always try their best and don;t make silly mistakes out of laziness.
What do you do for a living?
As my previous answers will have suggested, I am professional bridge player, though a substantial part of my time is also taken up with bridge journalism. I regularly work on the daily bulletins at world and zonal championships, and am the current editor and publisher of the official world championship book each yea. Though the journalism pays less well than playing, it provides some variety and better all-round balance to life.
What are your favourite bridge books?
I like biographies of top players rather than books on technique or system.
What are your hobbies?
Apart from travel, I like watching sport, cricket being my number one (as should be expected of a Yorkshireman), though the sport I most go to see live is ice-hockey - I take my teenage daughter to see Nottingham Panthers, currently the most successful team in the UK. I also like cinema and not too heavy theatre, and read science fiction, history and biographies.
What do you like and what would you change in bridge?
I like the fact that, however serious a competition may be, there is always a social element to the game, with the opportunity to talk to many different people during a session, and when we go to a tournament we meet up with many of the same people again and again, though I am of course concerned at the shortage of new blood coming into the English tournament scene. What do I dislike? As with life in general, bridge in the UK is over-regulated. Alert this, announce that, you can;t play that convention, the extended Rule of 25, two identical convention cards - I write this fresh from playing a tournament in Manila, where I think I saw one opponent in five days with a convention card, and yet there were no problems.
What's the bridge success (so far) closest to your heart?
I have won bridge events all around the world, and also lost some that I should have won. Some meant a lot at the time for one reason or another - perhaps because of who I was partnering, perhaps because I played particularly well - but if I had to choose one win it would be playing for Northern Ireland in the Camrose, back in the days when each match lasted for an entire weekend, and beating England - only the second time N. Ireland had ever done so. Since then I have also had the dubious privilege of playing for England against N. Ireland and losing. Given how rare and precious those N. Irish wins have been, that puts me in a unique position.
Major International Appearances
Senior European Championships: 2016
Senior World Olympiad: 2016
Camrose Trophy Selections*: 1982 1983 1996 1999 2000 2005 and 2014
Teltscher Trophy Selections: 2014 2015 2017^ 2018 and 2019
Gold Cup Winner: 1993
Crockfords winner: 1982 and 2015
Spring Foursomes Winner: 2005
Brighton Pairs, Harold Poster Cup Winner: 1981 and 1994
Autumn Congress Two Stars Pairs Winner: 1998
The Hubert Phillips Bowl Winner: 1978 and 1993
Easter Congress Guardian Trophy winner : 1990 and 2006
Player of the Year Championship: 2014/15 - 13th=
Sunday Telegraph Salver winner: 1979
* appearances for England only.
^ - selections for the Patron's team