Barry was born in Regina but his entire “bridge life” has been in Edmonton. Barry was Edmonton’s eighth Life Master. Back in the late 1960’s when Barry achieved that rank, not one of Edmonton’s 8 Life Masters had anywhere close to 1000 master points. Today, Barry has made Life Master 26 times over! He is the only Edmonton player who has achieved the ACBL rank of Emerald Life Master (7500 points). Barry got his start in bridge at home, watching his parents play. Other than with his wife Faith, Barry has had a longstanding bridge partnership with Harold Brend. Barry’s first partnerships were with his brother and with Lyall McCurdy. At regionals, Barry and Faith are welcome additions on anyone’s team although they do have some frequent teammates.
Barry is married to his favourite bridge partner, Faith, whom he met at a bridge party game. They will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this year. Barry has a B.A. and M.Ed. He taught school for 33 years. In the 1970’s, Barry taught bridge to students eager to learn the game at his school. Barry still teaches bridge today at the Edmonton Bridge Centre and says he continues to enjoy the challenge.
Barry’s main hobby is, of course, bridge. Outside of bridge, Barry enjoys reading, volunteering, traveling, church activities, gardening and sports. In the 1970’s, Barry was often a member of the strong Edmonton teams that dominated the district 18, 19, and 20 zones in the GNT. When the very first CNTC event was held in Canada in 1980, Barry was on a team that made the semi-finals. Perhaps his greatest bridge accomplishment of that era was being the captain of the first Canadian team ever to make the semi-finals of the GNT. [See newspaper clippings, below, from the Toronto newspaper (1978).]
Barry and Faith enjoy traveling and they attend several tournaments each year. At a club level, Barry has played in local clubs in Honolulu, Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, Toronto, and many more. Barry cannot remember his first regional or the number of regional events he has won. He does have a favourite tournament and that is a sectional in Meota, Saskatchewan. He recalls that tournament because, “…the people are all so friendly, the locals put on wonderful goodies and meals.” Barry’s future plans in bridge include: “…play some Regionals, sectionals, some nationals, perhaps competing in the CNTC, or other national events. We enjoy the competition at the higher levels.”
Barry has a bridge philosophy: “Bridge is a game to be enjoyed. Part of the enjoyment is to try one’s best to play at a high level”. Barry’s record speaks for itself and I can personally acknowledge that Barry is a fierce competitor but also a gracious opponent or partner. Barry leads by example in that regard. Barry’s pet peeve in bridge is the alert procedure: “If the alert is to be used properly, directors should be announcing that players should both orally and physically announce the alert. Very few people do this correctly.” Barry goes on to say that bridge can be improved if we were to “…drop all of the alert procedures, the announcing of transfers, and the NT ranges. Be a little more stringent on rudeness.”
Barry has some advice for new players and bridge players in general. “Learn as much as you can from studying, but do not overdo the conventions that you play. Sit down and kibbitz some of the top players, and learn from what you see them do. Play up, and not necessarily at your own level, if you wish to improve. Remember bridge is a game to be enjoyed and have fun. If you are not doing that, consider changing your attitude towards people and the game.”
Barry is a good bridge citizen and has worked in the following capacities over the years: member of the Edmonton Unit Board; member of the founding committee for the Edmonton Bridge Centre; member of the Edmonton Bridge Centre Board; and Alberta representative on the District 18 Board for 6 years.