Dick was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He is married to his favourite bridge partner, Christie. Dick has a B.A. and M.A. from Syracuse University and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Washington (1958). He is a retired University of Alberta Mathematics professor. Dick lists his main hobby as bridge; outside of bridge, his interest is in music. He played saxophone in the U.S. army during its occupation of Japan after World War II. Until recently, Dick played oboe with various groups. Now, Dick says he just listens at concerts and operas.
Dick got started in bridge in 1952 while a graduate student in Chicago. “We played total point team games in our dorm. My first duplicate game was in Spokane in 1953, while on the road to Seattle for more study.” Dick played bridge in Seattle for 5 years, in the Riverside area of California for 4 years, and occasionally played rubber bridge in London, England for a year. He has played most of his bridge in Edmonton, however, where he became Edmonton’s 4th life master.
Dick is one of the true gentlemen in the game of bridge. For years, he had a good partnership with a volatile partner (Neil Sutherland). Once in a while, you could hear a loud Scottish voice say, “But Richard!” as Dick was trying to rationalize a creative bid. Dick would only respond with a puff of his pipe and the noise would soon die down. If all bridge players had Dick’s demeanor and skill at the table, what a pleasant hobby bridge would be! Dick says he approaches bridge philosophically “…as a challenge, but remembering it’s just a game”. His pet peeve is “players who give unsolicited advice to their opponents.” Traditionally, husbands and wives do not make good bridge partnerships; however, Dick and Christie are an exception. I would hazard a guess, and Christie would agree with me, that Dick’s temperament has a lot to do with that.
Dick has provided a couple of anecdotes from his bridge experiences. “While at a bus stop in Disney World, Florida, we met a former Edmonton bridge player and signed him and his partner up for the Swiss teams the next day. We finished 3rd overall.“ Talk about finding your partners at the bus stop! “While playing in a regional with Carl Yaskovich in Pittsburgh many, many years ago, we came up against the pair of Charles Goren and John Gerber, who overbid a misfit and landed in a horrible contract. Carl started to point out to them where they went wrong. Gerber was not amused and said, “’Sonny, we've been at this game for a few years so don't need your advice’.”
Dick remembers that his first regional tournament was in Seattle in the 1950’s. As for his favourite regional, “It was in Helena, Montana as that is where I reunited with my former partner, Christie, who had been away to the U.S. (We were married soon afterwards, when both our divorces came through.) At this regional, we beat out Barry Crane and Kerri Shuman to win an open pairs.” [Beating Barry Crane in matchpoints at a regional was an almost unheard of event in those days.]
Dick shows concern for the game. “We need to find a way to get more young people playing,” he says. He offers this advice for newcomers to the game: “Find three other people, preferably some of whom have already played, read a basic bridge book, and play”. As for himself, Dick says he will be attending fewer tournaments in future but hopefully enjoying them more.