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London Newsletter Winter 2009

June 11, 2010

Meet the Edens by Chris Duckworth

The Eden’s are not star players, but rather regular club players, who both really enjoy their bridge and have big personalities. Mike is well known as a bridge teacher who is much loved and revered by his students, and Carrie is an actress.

Mike learned to play bridge whilst studying mathematics at Nottingham University.  One of his tutors was former British international Tony Sowter, who thought that bridge was an eminently suitable subject for his economics tutorials! Carrie learnt from her parents – when they played socially her mother would let her sit in when she went off to make tea, with the injunction “Just follow suit, and don’t try to be clever”.

Mike and Carrie have two grown-up sons and recently celebrated their pearl wedding anniversary. With no family at home, they took the unusual step of swapping their house and garden for a London flat off Russell Square. They wanted to be in the heart of town to enjoy all the facilities of the capital – which they do.

Most of their bridge has been played together over their 30 years, so it is certainly a partnership that has lasted.  Both are Life Masters, but Carrie describes their bridge as “County C team level” – she says they always seem to move whenever they get to B team level! They have played county bridge for Essex, Surrey and London over the years, having lived in each county at various times. Their best results have come in One-Day Green-Pointed Swiss events – they have won both the Surrey and London Swiss Teams and are the current holders of the London Swiss Pairs. They play Precision, “because it is fun”.

But when it comes to teaching bridge, Mike always teaches Standard English Acol. He is a Professional member of the EBU Teachers Association and a qualified club director for both the EBU and ACBL. A former secondary school head teacher, Mike loves teaching at all levels, but he is passionate about introducing beginners to bridge, something that gives him enormous satisfaction. He currently teaches courses at the St John’s Wood Synagogue, the Covent Garden Age Concern Day Centre and the Young Chelsea Bridge Club, where he also runs the weekly supervised play sessions (see his website at http://www.bridge.me.uk for more details). He also does some bridge weekends and both he and Carrie teach and direct on cruise ships when they get the opportunity. They are popular bridge hosts and usually do a couple of cruises each year on board one or other of the P&O cruise ships. You can see why Carrie is needed too when Mike told me they had 11 tables of beginners learning bridge on one recent cruise!

Carrie does her acting under her stage name of Carrie Cohen. She has worked on stage, TV, film, radio, voice overs, commercials – you name it really. She specialises in character parts, particularly comedy or horror roles. She especially relishes the horror parts and if you would like to see a sample of some of her work, just go to YouTube and type in “Carrie Cohen”. You will see her showreel, but be warned – some of it is quite scary! Carrie also writes comedy sketches and when she is not acting, writing or playing bridge, she loves cooking.

Mike and Carrie play most of their bridge now at the Young Chelsea, a club which they love. They always play together on Friday evenings, but Carrie can be seen with a wide variety of other partners on other evenings – as she usually comes along to play in the regular duplicates whilst Mike is teaching. Whenever they play, though, or with whomever, they are both unfailingly enthusiastic about their bridge. And it is this quality that makes them successful as a partnership – in life and in bridge – and very successful in bringing new players into the game.

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