Max Bavin (1954-2019)

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You will be saddened to hear of the untimely death of Max Bavin from England, aged just 65. Max retired just a few years ago as Chief Tournament Director of both the EBL and WBF. He will be greatly missed – may he rest in peace.

Obituary by Eitan Levy – EBL Executive Member

World bridge has lost a giant. Max’s knowledge and interpretation of the Laws of Bridge was unsurpassed.
At international events, TD discussions and consultations about rulings invariably ended with “what is Max’s opinion.” He had the ability to immediately get to the core of the problem and see the whole picture. A discussion of a ruling with Max often went like this: Max: “What would a bid of 3 clubs have meant in that situation in their system?”. TD: “Oh, I didn’t think of that.” Max: “Well go and find out and then we can discuss.”

In addition to his work in the field Max was always generous with his help. As a member of the EBL Rules and Regulations Committee, he was always the first to remark on a problem raised and I cannot remember when his advice or solution was not accepted. His last contribution to the Committee was in an email sent the day before he passed away. Until his retirement he was active in the training courses for EBL TDs and even after that, any exercises and test questions were always sent to Max for comments. He was a valuable member of the World Bridge Federation Laws Committee and remained an active consultant to the Committee when he gave up travelling.

Max was my mentor. It was through him and his help and encouragement that I rose through the ranks of tournament direction. We were together at many European and International Championships but my best time with him was spent when I directed, at his invitation, at many Summer Congresses in Brighton. I spent many hours with him at meals – always ending with his cognac, and later at the bar with his dark beer. Our conversations there were seldom about the niceties of the laws. We shared stories and anecdotes, swapped rumors, and talked about the other passion we shared, cricket. He often mentioned about how proud he was of his son, Ben.

Max could sometimes be impatient, especially at meetings when something was repeated many times. I, and others, were sometimes at the receiving end of a biting remark when something that he considered elementary was questioned, but none of this was ever done in an insulting way, and he gave praise where praise was due. In the over 20 years that I worked with Max I never heard one bad word said about him. He was an inspiration to all new directors and nearly all of today’s top TDs were influenced and guided by him. The bridge world – players, directors and officials – will all be the poorer for his loss.

Max often quoted the 10cc Rock Band song about cricket. To paraphrase the refrain of that song, “We didn’t like Max. We loved him!”