Tom was born in Vancouver B.C. but has lived in Edmonton for a long time, now with his significant other, Leslie Pettie. Tom was a successful businessman in the lumber business; he still runs a mill part-time but has essentially retired from the work force.
Tom’s main hobby is bridge. As for activities outside of bridge, he says, “Not much now. Golf once a year. Used to curl and play hockey a lot.” Tom describes his start in bridge: “I played one game of bridge around 1975. It was a regional at the Macdonald Hotel. I knew this guy, Jack Smith, from one of the construction sites I worked on. He was a bridge player and needed a partner for the Saturday game. He knew I played a lot of cards and he talked me into playing. On the way to the tournament he taught me Stayman, Blackwood and NT requirements. I had no idea how we were doing but he was excited as hell. We actually qualified. That was it for my involvement in bridge until 1982 when I just walked into Peter Jones’s club.”
As for his attitude or philosophy towards bridge Tom says, “As far as club games go, I'm not very serious. I laugh and have a few drinks. Other games such as CNTC, GNT, I try to play well.” And play well he does. Bob Crosby recalls playing with Tom in the 2003 CNTC in Pentiction. “Tom held ♠xx ♥x ♦KQ10xxx ♣KQJx. I opened 2♣, vulnerable. Tom replied 3♦ and I bid 3NT; Tom bid 4♣ and I responded 4♦, followed by Tom taking control of the hand and placing the contract in 7NT. After the opening lead by Paul Thurston, Bob claimed 13 tricks without playing a card. Paul’s teammates were in 3NT at the other table, so we won 17 IMPS. Tom’s hand evaluation and judgment impressed Paul so much that he wrote up the hand in his bridge column in the National Post.” Tom has had numerous successes at the national level, has won countless regional and sectional events, and is a very popular partner. He says, “My favourite partners are Piotr Klimowicz, Kiz Fung, Maurice de la Salle, Susan Culham, Doug Deschner, Bob Crosby, and Debbie Corse, to name a few.” Nobody would be surprised if Tom was on anyone’s list of favourite partners. Tom has a reputation of playing the hands “double dummy”. In club games, you can often tell Tom’s pair number by the results on the score sheet: everyone is scoring -630, except for one -660. That pair had the bad luck to defend the hand against Tom!
Tom recently returned from the Detroit Nationals where he and his partner, Kiz Fung, were leading the NAOP at half time. They eventually were 10th overall, which attests to Tom’s skill at matchpoints. He recently returned from a regional in Lethbridge where he won 76 masterpoints, plus funds to compete in the GNT super flight finals at Las Vegas this summer, having been on the winning zone team. Tom is a treasured member of the Edmonton bridge family. His bridge skill and love of the game has no equal in these parts.
To anyone contemplating learning the game of bridge, Tom says, “Just get in there and play.” Tom lists his favourite tournaments as Victoria and Penticton. Tom offers this advice to bridge players: “If you want to improve at a faster rate, work with the director and come down on weekends to play rubber bridge. He will find you a suitable game at your level. You play many more hands and when you're sitting out you can watch the better players. When I started, I just watched for a couple of months. That was Peter Jones’s advice. It worked. Thanks, Peter.” Boy, did it ever work!
2005 CBF IMP PAIRS (44 Pairs)
1. Thomas Gandolfo - Robert Crosby, Edmonton AB 82.53 8.66
2. Andre Chartrand, Chateauguay QC; Serge Chevalier, Montreal QC 66.47 6.50
3. Michael Gamble, Shawnigan Lake BC; Doug Fraser, Victoria BC 65.53 4.87
2007 CANADIAN OPEN PAIRS
GOLD: Kamel Fergani, Montreal QC; Pierre Daigneault,
Westmount QC 440.64 42.19
SILVER: Thomas Gandolfo - Maurice De La Salle, Edmonton AB 434.37 31.64
BRONZE: David Willis, Ottawa ON; Bryan Maksymetz, Coquitlam BC 417.95 25.00
ROUND ROBIN RESULTS
1. (320) Vince Nowlan, Stan Cabay, Vince Lambert, Ron Bass, Maurice de la Salle, Doug Deschner
2. (304) Kamel Fergani, Nicolas L'Ecuyer, Douglas Fraser, Jurek Czyzowicz, Mike Hargreaves, Boris Baran
3. (280) Judith Gartaganis, Nicholas Gartaganis, Keith Balcombe, Gordon Campbell
4. (276) Peter Jones, Piotr Klimowicz, Bob Crosby, Tom Gandolfo, Jym Galand, Gerry McCully