George McCutcheon was born in Scotland in 1925, graduated in medicine from the University of Aberdeen, and migrated to Australia in the fifties. In subsequent years he exerted a profound influence on the organization of bridge in Queensland and Australia.
Located at Toowoomba, and with a background of club bridge in Scotland, he decided that the local bridge scene would benefit from a similar arrangement, and was a prime mover in the establishment of three of the earliest clubs in Queensland – Toowoomba, Dalby and Gatton. The establishment of several other clubs in Queensland soon followed.
Moving on from that base, and looking for a system that would allow clubs to interact and compete, he decided that the European congress system might well be the answer, and organised Australia’s first country congress at Toowoomba in 1960. Other congresses soon followed in Queensland and other parts of Australia, and this establishment of a congress circuit had a profound effect on bridge in this country. They became a very popular extension of the club system and added immeasurably to the opportunities for advancement and to the enjoyment of the game.
At another level still, Dr. McCutcheon saw the need for a major congress in Queensland that would attract players from the rest of Australia and overseas, a vision that resulted in the organization of the Gold Coast Congress. This congress, of course, has now grown into one of the nation’s most popular events.
As a final acknowledgement of the outstanding organisational contributions to bridge by Dr. McCutcheon, it should be mentioned that he was responsible for the introduction of a masterpoint scheme in Queensland, and also played a significant role in the establishment of the national masterpoint arrangements. It was most fitting, then, that the ABF later established in his honour the McCutcheon trophy, which recognises the player gaining the most masterpoints annually.
Further details of Dr. McCutcheon’s contributions to bridge in Queensland may be found in Mind Games – A Biographical History of Bridge in Queensland.