Pit your skills against Philippe Cronier on Sunday 13 March

Philippe Cronier invites you to pit yourself against him in a special Funbridge Points tournament. And since good news never comes alone, if you score higher than the French champion, you’ll get 25 Diamonds!

Meet Philippe Cronier

How did you get into bridge?

I am now an experienced played (I’m 68). I learned bridge with my family over 50 years ago, more precisely with my grandparents who introduced me to the game. I played my first tournament with my grandfather when I was 13.

What’s your national ranking?

I currently rank 5th among French players. (I was ranking 4th until Jérôme Rombaut moved ahead of me at the last Pairs National Division 😃)

What’s your playing record?

I won the World Bridge Series in the Senior Teams category in Sanya in 2014. I was crowned Champion of Europe – Open Teams in 1983, Champion of Europe – Mixed Teams in 2011 and I won the online European qualification competitions in the Mixed category last September.

I won many silver and bronze medals in international competitions, including two bronze medals in Bermuda Bowl in 1983 and 1995.

In pairs, I won the European title (Mixed pairs) twice: in 2011 with Catherine d’Ovidio and in 2015 with Sylvie Willard. Again, here I won a few less prestigious medals, including a silver one in Open pairs with Michel Lebel in 1987.

I won many French Championships (I don’t know how many), including two in a row this year: Mixed National Division with Donatella Halfon and Teams National Division in Romain Zaleski’s team.

I’ve also been a non-playing captain and a coach of various French teams (Women, Open, Seniors and even Juniors).

What’s your best bridge memory?

My best bridge memory is one of these captaincies. I was managing the Seniors French team in Weldhoven, Netherlands, in 2011. In the semi-finals, we played against a very strong Polish team. They were the tournament favourites. We resisted quite well but the Poles were ahead with only a few deals to go. We were bound to be honourably defeated but in the last deal, François Leenhardt and Patrice Piganeau produced a master stroke which gave them just the number of points they needed to move ahead of the Poles to finally beat them by 0.3 IMPs, the smallest margin ever recorded in an international knockout match.

Transcended by this minor miracle, the players (Philippe Vanhoutte & Patrick Grenthe, Philippe Poizat & Guy Lasserre on top of those already mentioned) played brilliantly in the final and outperformed an impressive American team to become world champions. This title was as gratifying (maybe more?) as winning it myself! We must be proud of all these successes because winning at bridge is hard. There’s plenty of strong players in big events and only Lady Luck’s continued action allows you to win…

Which achievement are you most proud of?

One of the most rewarding is probably a recent one since it dates back to late 2019. I had the opportunity to be part of the famous Lavazza team and to play with Giorgio Duboin, certainly one of the top world players. As fate would have it, we won the Reisinger Trophy, which is often considered as the most difficult American Championship. The other team members were Agustin Madala, Dennis Bilde, Norberto Bocchi and Antonio Sementa. What a delight and what a feeling of pride!

What do you think of Funbridge?

When Funbridge was launched, I viewed this way of playing bridge with a bit of disdain. This is not bridge, robots are not very strong, you cannot bid properly because your partner does just what he likes and so on. And then I got caught up: I have trouble beating Argine regularly and challenges against other players are fun. But most of all, I’ve realised that I had a real interest in training myself up on Funbridge. If I haven’t played for a couple of days and an important deadline is approaching, I use Funbridge for intensive training sessions. I’ve realised that playing with Argine and its friends helped me “practise scales” and get my mind back to bridge. I play quickly (not always right) and I try to ensure everything comes naturally at card play again. And it works!