About Oliver

I'm a 57-year old retired Police Sergeant, brought up in London, but now living in Newmilns, East Ayrshire, Scotland. Outside of Bridge my main interests are computer programming and landscape photography. I'm was born in London and was taught bridge at a very early age by my father, who had already taught my elder siblings how to play, but that still left them unable to make up a four for Bridge. My father started to teach me the rudiments of natural bidding and the mysteries of finessing and I became an instant addict at age 5 or thereabouts.

I was lucky in that the schools I attended from age 8 upwards all encouraged (or didn't oppose) Bridge and so I started playing [vaguely] competitive bridge before I even reached University. At Manchester University, though, I was introduced to the delights of Teams of Four and Match-pointed Pairs and started to really study the game seriously. It was here that some kind soul introduced me to Precision. I started playing it, but found little opportunity to continue with it once I left Manchester University and reverted to Acol perforce.

Bury Athenaeum

When I left University I joined the Police in Manchester but, surprisingly, I had plenty of time left over for playing bridge, and in quick time found myself joining a very delapidated club in Bury called the Bury Athenaeum, who occasionally a a table of rubber going, but was mainly populated by a few old souls who like a game of billiards. Once a week they had a duplicate night with 3 or 4 tables.

A friend (Chris Stuart) and I set about trying to improve matters. I started teaching and we started more duplicate and refurbished it from top to bottom. Over the space of a few years turned it into one of the best Bridge Clubs in the North-west of England. Lancashire is deep in Acol territory but I did eventually find someone (Bob Bradbury) interested in developing a Super-Precision system and the original version of OCP was born. That original version was Std Precision with most of the Super-Prevision Asking Bids and a few gadgets I had developed (eg: The 2-way 2 Diamond response to 1NT, the Cambridge Heart Complex, etc).

Bridge in Manchester

I eventually moved on from Bury Athenaeum (long story, not worth repeating here) and started playing Bridge in Manchester at Jeff Morris's Manchester Bridge Club, later the Galleon, and other clubs. At the Galleon I fell into a partnership with Jason Hackett, then an England Junior with his brother Justin. Jason and I took the system Bob and I had been using and over several years developed it into a comprehensive Super-Precision system that was a huge amount of fun to play, even if it did demand a great deal of concentration. It took us 6 months of work and practice to lick the system into shape and then learn it well enough to start playing it competitively.

We played as a pair, and also as a Team of Four with Jason's twin brother Justin and their father the legendary Paul Hackett. Needless to say I was pretty outclassed by these guys, but we had a lot of fun and won a few things!!! We even got a winning draw out of the then GB Team (Brock, Forrester, Lodge & Sowter) after an outrageous psyche by Jason in the National Swiss Teams at Leeds one year.

Online Bridge

In 1992 I gave up playing face-to-face Bridge (after I met my future wife Naomi, who doesn't like or play Bridge!!) and switched my attentions to Online bridge, initially on OkBridge, but more recently on Bridgebase where I have now been happily situated for a long time. Besides teaching OCP in BBO's Intermediate/Advanced Club, I enjoy mentoring people learning the system and like to find the time for an occasional competitive game as well. I mostly play OCP with my regular partners, but also dabble with 2/1 or Std American when the situation demands it, and have even been known to dust off my 1960's Acol once in a while.

The development and refinement of OCP never really stops (It hasn't stayed still for any length of time in 36 years) and now it is considerably different from what Jason and I used to play, and would be completely unrecognisable to Bob Bradbury!

We now have about 40 people on BBO who regularly play the OCP system. One of the things I adore about Bridge as a game is that you never stop learning. That's as true of online Bridge as it is when playing face-to-face. I keep on finding things in the system that might be worth improving, and the published system even gets changed occasionally.

Outside of Bridge.

I joined Greater Manchester Police in 1977 and after my initial training was posted to Bury. At the time my main interest outside of Bridge was Snooker, but Photography also because a keen interest.

In 1982 I was posted to Salford and moved out of the singlemen's hostel in Bury and acquired a flat in Ramsbottom, nearby. I was persuaded to help run the Management Company of the flats, and that in turn introduced me to computer programming. I started out developing SQL databases using Rbase 5000, but swiftly moved onto developing Dos utilities using C.

In 1987 I was promoted to Sergeant and posted to the City Centre Division in Manchester. I soon developed a 2nd hat, looking after everything to do with computers for the Division, developing databases for departments when requested, and eventually was seconded to a national project to develop an integrated HR system for use by all the UK's Police Forces.

In 2006 that project ended and I was posted to Stretford Division as a Custody Sergeant up till my retirement in 2007. When I retired, Naomi and I decided to move to Scotland to be nearer her family, and here we are!


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