This season’s CBAI National President, Gordon Lessells, has recently graduated to the highest rank in Irish bridge, that of Grand Master. Gordon becomes the 35th member of that most exclusive club, and (we imagine) the first to receive that honour in his presidential year.
A native of Aberdeenshire, Gordon moved to Ireland in 1980 and in 1981 took up a position in the Mathematics Department of NIHE (Limerick) which became University of Limerick in 1989. He settled in Parteen with postal address Co Clare but voting rights in Limerick East. Having encountered bridge on a trip to Norway in 1965, he played as a student in the University of Oxford and for five years in Nigeria where he organised the first Nigerian Bridge Congress.
A winner of the New Ireland Trophy, Davidson Cup, Revington Cup, Coen and Burke Trophies, Gordon has represented Ireland on several occasions at senior level, including at the World Olympiad in Istanbul in 2004, on two European Championship teams, and once in the Teltscher (Senior Camrose) Trophy. His first regular partner in Ireland was Bob Pattinson. Mark Burke, Brid Kirby, Pat McCarthy, Des Houlihan, Rita Cassidy, and Anne Hynes have been regular partners over the years but he also won trophies with Ena Cleary, Pat Liston, and Jeannie Fitzgerald.
He is a great traveller, both for bridge and other reasons, and claims to have played bridge in every county in Ireland (a feat he hopes to replicate in his presidential year) as well as in many countries overseas. He has also contributed greatly to the administration of the game, serving as both Secretary and President of the North Munster Region, and as Secretary and Treasurer of the Irish Bridge Union, a body very close to his heart.
Away from the bridge table, Gordon still plays tennis and is a keen puzzler, enjoying all kinds of intellectual challenges, particularly mathematical and verbal problems. He is a member of the Irish Mathematical Society, and has taken an Irish team to more than twenty International Mathematical Olympiads (a competition for talented schoolchildren). He has very kindly supplied all manner of puzzles at Irish bridge events. Gordon is also a keen photographer, and served as unofficial CBAI prizegiving cameraman for many years. He has proudly maintained his Scottish roots, contributing to the Limerick Burns Night on several occasions. Gordon will be a very popular addition to the Grand Master ranks, and we are sure you will join us in congratulating him on his achievement.