I have always had a love of cards and my mother taught me to play before I started school. I played with my parents in subsequent years at home, not bridge, but solo was a good introduction.
I also met John Bell who became a very good friend. We were in different schools but we met at inter school chess matches and debating society events. We both went to university in 1959 and as I did not have enough time between lectures to play a game of chess but could manage a few hands of bridge we both switched. This was when Willie Coyle & Victor Silverstone were establishing themselves as a leading Scottish pair. They gave “lessons” and payment was by playing against them at Rubber Bridge, Unfortunately we never came away winning.
I left University due to a minor colour blindness which prevented me following my intended career. I continued to play bridge in Albert Benjamin’s club in Shields Road in Glasgow but now with Robert Grubb with whom I was working in an insurance office. Eventually I moved to insurance broking where eventually I set up my own business.
I had met my wife Irene at the QM at Glasgow University and we were married in 1965 and shortly afterwards my company moved me to Dundee. Irene and I started our family and bridge was ignored for a number of years. I only returned to bridge because Irene decided to take bridge lessons and I then joined Dundee Bridge Club. I had been a member for a few years and had made many friends through bridge plus obtained some business due to my bridge connections when I felt I should do something in return so I began learning club directing and scoring in Dundee Club.
From this minor start I have taken on the challenge of the post of president, which was never anticipated in my early years. I am taking over at an interesting time just when we are going through major changes in our organization though if Russell had not brought these changes forward I would have been presenting them as we both felt the SBU council was unwieldy with too many members. I would like greater use of the district committees in our future planning. The transition will not be easy for both the SBU council and the district committees.
During my last year as convener of the tournament committee I was involved in discussions on how to help the newcomers to our game become more involved and we will be trialling various competitions for our bronze players which I hope will be supported. We also would like feedback from the participating players to help us improve these events.
The hope is to have similar standards of players competing with each other in these events but until mempad has been running for a few years there will be imbalances. For our more established players we are trying to maintain the current competitions though in some cases with a different format but feel due to lack of support we may have to drop a few events.
We are also changing the master point rules to obtain consistency in the awards given for similar events and hope to show the award allocation in the web competition manual. I hope to improve Scottish bridge over the next 2 years in both directing and tournament participation.
Ian Hunter (SBU President)