Below you'll find biographies of players in the New Tricks Tournament Series.
Zia Mahmood (universally known as just Zia) is perhaps the most famous of all bridge players. He was born in Pakistan and educated in England and took up bridge almost by accident to impress a girl he was keen on, and has gone on to play professional bridge for most of his life. He became very well known in worldwide bridge circles when he led the Pakistan team to second place in the Bermuda Bowl in 1981. He continued to play for Pakistan for another five years, again leading the team to an impressive second place in the Rosenblum Cup tournament in 1986. Since then, he has represented the USA in worldwide competition, but remains immensely proud his Pakistani heritage.
The litany of his triumphs in major competitions is littered with all the big name trophies - he won the Bermuda Bowl in 2009 and has five Reisingers, two Spingolds and three Vanderbilts to his name. He has won the European Champions’ Cup, Gold Cup, Crockfords Cup, World Transnational Mixed Teams and many other major titles too numerous to list here.
He is a member of the ACBL Hall of Fame and has been their player of the year many times.
He has written a number of books, including Bridge my Way and featured in various television programmes, including Play Bridge with Zia and the UK’s Masterbridge series. He wrote a regular bridge column for the Guardian until they stopped covering bridge, and has featured in two documentary films, including the recent Aces and Knaves.
He is known for his ingenious and spectacular plays and for his considerable charm. Zia is married with two sons, Zain and Rafi, and lives mainly in London.
Andrew Robson OBE is perhaps England’s best known bridge player. Andrew has represented England for some 30 years. His many competitive successes include winning the World Youth Team Championships, the European Championships and the Gold Cup on no fewer than eight occasions.
Andrew has put his training as a schoolteacher to good use by heading hundreds of instructional seminars around the UK, many in aid of charity. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to bridge and charity. Later the same year he was the joint winner of Personality of the Year at the International Bridge Press Association's annual awards. In 2018 he was a winner of the English Bridge Union's Diamond Award, introduced to recognise players "in recognition of excellence and success over a sustained period for England's international teams".
In 1995, he founded the highly successful Andrew Robson Bridge Club in South West London and teaches regularly both there and at Masterclasses around the UK. He writes daily for the Times, weekly for Country Life and Money Week, and monthly for The Oldie. He is the author of many books on bridge, as well as instructional DVDs and online videos.
Andrew is married, with two daughters, and lives in London. When not bridging, Andrew loves long walks and bike rides.
Marion Michielsen is originally from The Netherlands, where she studied and practised law before becoming a professional bridge player. She has made a huge impact on the women’s game and is a World Women Grand Master. Marion played in the Dutch junior teams, both the under 20 and under 25 girls’ squads and won the under 25 juniors (open) in 2007. In the European Bridge League championships of both 2004 and 2005, she played on both the under 21 and the under 26 women’s teams for the Netherlands. In world championship teams of four competition, Marion was a member of two six- person treats that won quadrennial tournaments in 2014, namely the World Mixed Teams Championship (partnering Zia) and the McConnell Cup. She now lives in Sweden, with her partner and young son.
David Gold started his competitive life as a top junior chess player, and took up bridge aged 16. He began playing professionally just a few years later and is now one of England’s finest players and a staple of the Open team.
With his then partner, Tom Townsend, David played in the England trials in 2000, reaching the semis and gaining, for David, his first Camrose Cap. David and Tom won the 2003/2004 Open Trials with John Armstrong and Danny Davies, thus earning the right to compete in the European Teams Championship and the World Team Olympiad. They were part of the team which narrowly losing to Italy in the final of the 2008 World Team Olympiad to capture the silver medal.
David has since played in partnerships with Tony Forrester and David Bakhshi and has represented England with them numerous times in the European Championships (winning a bronze medal in 2014 - later upgraded to a silver medal following the disqualification of the winning Israeli team), Bermuda Bowl (finishing 4th in 2015 after two extremely narrow defeats in the semi-final and bronze medal play-off), and World Olympiad. His most recent international partner is Mike Bell, and they have played together in the 2016 and 2017 Camrose Trophy.
In 2017 he was part of a team which won a bronze medal in the Transnational competition at the World Teams Championships.
He has won the Gold Cup four times, Premier League seven times, and the 2016, 2017 and he became one of the few Brits to have won a national in America in 2016 by winning the national board-a-match with Mike Bell.
David is married and lives in London.
Andrew Black, known to all as Bertie, is a well-known figure on the bridge circuit, both as a player and a sponsor. He has been playing since childhood, including a stint as a professional in the 1990s before returning to his business interests and founding Betfair.
He has returned to the game in recent years and his teams have had many notable successes. ‘Team Black’ reached the final of the European Winter Games in 2016, won the Gold Cup in 2017 and came third in the Champions Cup in 2018.
Bertie’s passion for bridge is rivalled only by his love of horse racing. He breeds racehorses at his stud farm in Surrey and they are trained at his facility in Cheshire jointly owned with Michael Owen. He has investments in used oil re-refining and in biotechnology housed within his science park in Hampton.
He is married and has four children.
Cecilia Rimstedt, a World Women’s Grand Master, is one of the most exciting young players on the European bridge scene. She was born into a bridge playing family - her father Magnus Eriksson and mother Ann Rimstedt are well-known for their many bridge accomplishments in Sweden. Cecilia started playing with her sister, Sandra, who is now also a professional bridge player, based in New York, and she and Sandra helped to teach their younger twin brothers, who are the current World Pairs Champions.
Cecilia won the World Junior Open Pairs title, aged just 17, in 2006 and has gone from strength to strength since. She won the Mixed Pairs event in the European Open in Istanbul this summer and most recently achieved a most impressive win in the 2019 Venice Cup in Wuhan.
She lives in Kungsbacka, near Gothenburg, Sweden with her two young sons, William and Alexander.
Jerry Stamatov is one of Bulgaria’s top bridge players, and has been playing at the highest levels for over 25 years. In 2017, he and his current regular partner, Diyan Danailov scored an impressive victory at the highly prestigious Cavendish bridge forum which is held annually in Monte Carlo.
His most recent major success was winning the Open Pairs at the European Championships in Istanbul in 2019.
In addition to being a professional bridge player, Jerry runs a software development business and he has recently relocated to the USA to further his business interests.
He is married, with a young son.
Dennis Bilde is a young star in bridge. He comes from a bridge playing family in Denmark, and has played since childhood. Some of his notable successes include winning the World Youth Team Championships in 2008 (Beijing), the World Youth Individual Championship in 2010 (Philadelphia). In 2013 he became the second youngest ever winner of Vanderbilt Cup in St Louis.
He went on to become a member of the prestigious Lavazza team. As part of this team he has notched up runner-up finishes in the Spingold and the Jacoby Swiss Teams and made the quarterfinals of the Vanderbilt in 2017. In that same year, he won the Norman Kay Platinum Pairs and the Nail LM Pairs and was named ACBL Player of the Year in recognition of his achievements.
In addition to his professional bridge career, Dennis works with his father to promote youth bridge in Denmark, where they have been very successful at introducing the game into schools.
David was born in Zimbabwe and educated in England, at Dulwich College and Caius, Cambridge. He has had a long and varied bridge career, playing and coaching internationally and professionally, teaching, writing and commentating on bridge events both live and on-line. He coached Britain to Bermuda Bowl silver medal (1987) and to victory in the European championships (1991). He has also coached the highly successful England Women's team over recent years, picking up numerous medals, including victory in the 2016 European Championships and silver medals in the 2013 and 2017 Venice Cups, and aided the Senior team in their victory in the 2014 European Championships, as well as acting as NPC for recent Camrose teams. He received an EBU Diamond Award in 2015 in recognition of his excellence and success over a sustained period for England’s international teams. He lives in London.
Maruša is originally from Slovenia, but now lives and works as a bridge professional in London. Her first major breakthrough came in 2012 when she won the Slovenian Pairs Trials whilst still a junior (the first woman to do so and only one of two to do so since). Her other victories include the Slovenian mixed pairs 2015, 2016, Slovenian mixed teams, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Slovenian Open teams 2016 and 2017. In 2016 she finished 4th in The North American Mixed teams Championships in Orlando but perhaps her best result was in 2015 when she won bronze in the European open championships in Tromso on an Anglo/Slovene/Zimbabwean women's team, knocking out the highly fancied Polish team on the way. She is married to David Gold.