Diana Serban (or should we say Diana_Eva)BBO Director of Operations

Many of you will know BBO’s very own Diana – (Diana_Eva). She’s been with us since 2006. Diana’s the person we all go to when we’re scratching our heads and need an answer. Consequently, she’s always snowed under with work, getting pulled in all directions. No matter how busy she is though, she always helps out, adds her thoughts and helps steer the BBO ship.

Diana’s in the middle with the spectacles

When Diana started with BBO, she published a couple of articles about her busy life. These are well worth a read. If you’ve time, read them before you read this. It’s always nice to watch the episodes in the right order!

A few years have passed since these were published and Diana has very little spare time to devote to writing another update. So, I decided the best way to keep the story moving would be to get her to answer a few questions. So here goes:

Are you playing any more club bridge or just online?

Take a wild guess for 2020 😊 Just kidding! On a more serious note, I barely play any live bridge at all. Turns out I strongly prefer playing online, perhaps because I made friends in such a wide variety of countries and I have opportunities to play with players so strong and famous that live bridge pales by comparison in a small country like Romania. Also, working with bridge every day for so long has led to some level of saturation.

Who’s your favourite partner?

It used to be my husband, Flavoneus, but he has not played much in the past few years. I play with my colleague Barmar sometimes, in Aurora’s Sunday game – we both enjoy it and Aurora is a delightful host. Once a month I play the BBO Prime tournament, which is also hosted by Aurora (see a pattern here? ) with mps1 (Mickey S.). This one is a particularly entertaining game because it uses cooked hands thrown in with random ones, and we both do so terrible every time, yet we keep coming back to try and do better.

What’s your favorite game on BBO?

I love the Robot Rebate 55%, which has some very strong players and it’s really hard to win. I enjoy watching how the other players play the hand. There are some incredible gems of skill in these games. When feeling in the mood for more casual games I’m binging on the Express – 4 Fast Hands, which I find weirdly addictive and fun to play.

Are your children taking an interest in bridge?

They are all familiar with bridge and can play at a basic level. I took them to a bridge summer camp which they enjoyed, but online they prefer the anonymous Just Play Bridge. None of them are hooked to bridge in the obsessive-compulsive manner hubby and I were, but there’s still time 😊 The seeds have been planted!

Bridge Camp

Who’s your role model?

I think it’s Uday, and not saying this just because he is my boss. Every day his humility, honesty, and drive to build, help, do good amazes me, even after more than 10 years of working together.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

I received this piece of advice as a young, inexperienced mom. Someone told me that no matter what I tell my kids they will always do what they see me doing, not what they hear me saying. Never set rules you’re not willing to follow yourself.

Can you explain what you do in simple terms?

Nowadays it’s a bit of everything. With the pandemic forcing so many bridge groups to stop their live games, we focused mostly on helping clubs and NBOs migrate their activities online. For BBO as well, I help organize all our festivals, championships, special events. I’m also responsible for ads, vugraph, I help create and experiment with new types of games (Express – 4 Fast Hands and the Zenith Daylong Reward are recent examples), and generally I’m the “knowledge base” for almost everything BBO as I’ve been around since forever.

Working from home!

What would your perfect week look like?

It would definitely be offline, especially after a year like 2020! I love spending time with my family at our holiday house in the mountains. I guess I’d play a bit of bridge too, not sure I can last an entire week without!

What do you like to do outside of bridge?

Not much really, I’m practically living on BBO 😊 I love talking to my kids who have turned into amazing young people, so I make time to catch up with them. We spend long hours just chatting about everything under the sun and moon. I also love to read, watch movies, and play with our adorable husky Masha.

Where do you like to go on holiday?

I’m in love with Romania, which I feel we will never finish exploring, so we try to make it to the mountains, to the seaside and to the beautiful Danube Delta every year. We recently bought a holiday house in the mountains. It has been our refuge whenever we had a few days to escape the busy, loud, and dusty Bucharest.

View from the mountain house

Are you still in your Bucharest apartment?

Not anymore, no, but we had 6 happy years there. We managed to save some money, and took a loan to buy our own house here in Bucharest, a few years ago. We’re finally in our own place, without inlaws, and with a dirty oven.

Have you found any more nasty surprises in your pantry!?

Haha yes, sort of. Not exactly our pantry but after we moved to our own house – which has a yard too, my precious offspring started to bring me all the broken animals they found. In a couple of years we were proud owners of two guinea pigs (found abandoned in a garden), 3 stray cats, each of them recovered half dead from various accidents, and my mother in law’s senior dog who was blind and deaf. We were joking with hubby that we will never have a healthy, normal animal when my darling daughter Miruna managed to surpass our expectations by bringing home a heavily pregnant dog. This is how we got Masha, who delivered 5 puppies in our yard several days later. We found homes for the puppies and we kept Masha.

Masha and pup

Did you end up keeping the Tesla reel to reel tape recorder?

As much as it pained me to part with it no, we left it in the old apartment.