Mark Howard Horton (born 22 February 1950) is a British bridge journalist and expert player, as well as a former lawyer and chess champion. He has been the editor of Bridge Magazine since 1995. Founded in 1926, it is the world's oldest bridge magazine and is now distributed in the UK by Chess & Bridge Ltd (London).
He currently lives in Bath with his partner Liz.
Horton was a powerful chess player who as a Junior represented England and subsequently played for Great Britain in the European Team Correspondence Championship, winning the gold medal on his board as the team took the bronze. He penned a series of articles and booklets on Opening theory and American legend Bobby Fischer used one of his suggestions to win a game against Russian Mark Taimanov on his way to the World title. His one full-length book on chess, published in 1977, is French Defence 1.
Horton developed an interest in bridge in the early seventies. Chess has taken a back seat ever since, and in 1993 he ended his law career to pursue bridge-related interests full-time. He was fortunate to live in Nottingham, which was the home of International Popular Bridge Monthly and thus provided opportunity to listen, learn and play with the pick of England’s players including Tony Sowter, Tony Forrester, Graham Kirby, Brian Senior and Sally Brock.
On the advice of Forrester, Horton formed a partnership with Richard Winter and they rapidly rose to the top, winning in rapid succession a host of major events in Britain including the Life Master Pairs, the Grandmaster Pairs, Crockford's Cup and the Spring Foursomes. Their success earned them invitations to overseas events and they won both the famous Hoechst Team tournament and the Dunhill Cup. They represented England on numerous occasions and were on the "Great Britain" team in Albuquerque for the 1994 world teams championship (Rosenblum Cup, not a national teams tournament).
It was in that same year that Mark was asked by Patrick Jourdain to work at the European Mixed Championships in Barcelona - the only snag was that it meant that he would not be allowed to play. He decided to accept and when Jourdain announced at the end of the event that he wanted to retire from working on the Bridge Bulletin, the European Bridge League (EBL) appointed Horton its Chief Editor, a post he has held ever since.
In 1995 he was invited to become Editor of Bridge Magazine, the world’s oldest bridge publication (since in May 1926) and he has been doing that ever since. He started writing bridge books, and is now well into double figures. His latest, Misplay these Hands with Me, has earned rave reviews and was short listed for the 2008 Master Point Press Book of the Year award, which his book I Love This Game, with Sabine Auken, won in 2006.
Although his partnership with Winter came to an end, Mark continued to play in international events. He has won events in such far-flung places as Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, the U.S., Portugal, Egypt and Malta, to name a few.
It was in Malta that he met the now legendary Rabbi Leonard Helman, and they formed a professional partnership. They were in the prize money in Malta, and ever since they have played in two or three events a year, at the Nationals and in some overseas events. A couple of years ago they won the Polish Team Championships in Sopot along with their regular Bulgarian teammates Vladi Isporski, Valentin Kovachev and Victor Aronov.
He has been an editor for numerous Daily Bulletins at tournaments, including the World Team Championships in Shanghai in 2007. "No international tournament is complete without his presence as bulletin editor."
Horton's current workload includes a revision of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, a book on the Multi two diamonds convention, a history of bridge since 1950, and a collection of double dummy problems. There is also the possibility of a book on professional bridge, centered on his adventures with the Rabbi Helman.