Neil John Gibson
1944 – 2022
Neil grew up in Winton in outback Queensland. In those days there was little, if any, available leisure activities other than what you did for yourself. Neil’s family were keen card players and hence Neil was inducted into card games. Throughout his early life he played card games with his family and in his teenage years was thoroughly educated in the game of Bridge by his mother. He played Bridge regularly at home – loved the game and in the process “toned” his card sense of play for which he had an abundance of natural ability.
During his University years and his professional work life, his available time for extracurricular (card game) activities was very limited and there were very minimal interludes of bridge play.
In 1991, Neil’s wife Elizabeth went to Germany to visit her relatives and, in Elizabeth’s absence and with free time available, Neil’s passion for Bridge “flowered”.
In Elizabeth’s absence – being on his own – he commenced playing Bridge at the Northern Suburbs Bridge Club (which, at that time, had newly established premises in Hendra) and formally joined the Club in July 1993. On Elizabeth’s return from Germany he undertook to teach Elizabeth the game of Bridge but with a “proviso” – once Elizabeth learned the game he Neil would never play with her again! (fortunately this never occurred and, in all probability, Neil never intended it to apply)
Elizabeth was a quick learner with a natural ability for card games. Neil and Elizabeth continued to play regularly.
In1999 Neil and Elizabeth met up with Alan Clayton and Ann Nichols and in the ensuing years (until 2014 when Alan’s health deteriorated to the extent that he was unable to continue playing) together they travelled all over Queensland and the length and breadth of Australia competing in all major congress events — that is except for Alice Springs Congress where, for various reasons – COVID included – they never competed. A particular feature of their excursions was that, when not playing Bridge, Neil and Alan would spend their time at crossword puzzles while the Ladies went “shopping”.
Neil achieved the rank of Grand Master in August 2012. He had very many successes (primarily with his wife as partner at the Bridge table) in competitions at Club and QBA level and equally many good successes at the major congresses he attended throughout Australia. He used to recall that, at one stage, he had accumulated more gold points than red and green points combined.
Neil was an Electrical Engineer by Profession – trained to be precise and analytical. He used this training to good effect in analysing bidding systems and selecting the system that suited best his style of bidding. He enjoyed the investigation and the analysis of different bidding systems and actively engaged himself in this field. He had a brilliant sense of card play –undoubtedly from his early family life experiences – and he had an uncanny knowledge of knowing when to bid (and more importantly when not to bid!)
Neil was a “teacher” (in Professional life as well). Wherever and whenever he could he would not hesitate to mentor less experienced players and to provide advice and help to bridge players at all levels of expertise.
This narrative would not be complete if Neil’s “extra-curricular” activities in one particular matter were not included. In 2014 a teaching Annex was proposed for the Northern Suburbs Bridge Club and got the green light to proceed. Neil spent very many long hours of hard labour on this project. He designed the electrical wiring for the Annex and made sure that the Annex had the best available modern media facilities. He provided oversight in the design and construction of the new building and the completion of its fit-out. The new building (now called the “Elizabeth Gibson Centre”) was completed in 2016 and opened in early 2017.
Neil was a great guy and a great Bridge player who was well respected by all those in the Bridge community who knew him. He will be missed – R.I.P.