Last year, the prestigious Cavendish Invitational was played in Monaco for the first time. The venue was changed from Las Vegas through and agreement between World Bridge Productions and the Monaco Bridge Federation.
The tournament is back in Monaco for 2013, Oct. 21-25. Jean-Charles Allavena, president of the Monaco Bridge Federation, discusses the decision in a question-and-answer format.
The Cavendish was moved to Monaco for 2012 after being in Las Vegas for many years. The expectation, at least for some, is that the tournament would alternate between Las Vegas and Monaco. Does the new scheduling mean it is in Monaco for good?
When we discussed with BWP last year, the principle was to alternate, even years in Monaco, odd years in Las Vegas. The purpose was that doing so would bring new “air” to the tournament and convince some European players, who hadn’t come
to Las Vegas these last years, to come back. During the Cavendish in Monaco, we received from BWP the following message from Donna Compton, with World Bridge Productions: “Congratulations on your great success. The committee has decided that it will not host a 2013 Cavendish in Las Vegas. The economic conditions
in the U.S. are not conducive to hosting a Cavendish tournament at this time. Perhaps Monaco would like to host the tournament once again in 2013.”
We immediately decided to do it again, and communicated this information to all the players. Of course, I don’t know at this moment if it means that it will never be in Las Vegas again. We will next year with BWP what they want to do.
Do you consider the debut of the Cavendish in Monaco to be a success?
Very honestly, I do, and I think that all the players who took part consider this too:
• First, the number of teams and pairs: Our target was to do a little bit better than in Las Vegas. At the end, the numbers were far over: 20 teams and 58 pairs.
• Then the origin of the pairs, and the pleasure to see that people came from all Europe, including small countries of Eastern Europe, for the pleasure to
play such a great tournament. But also the pleasure to receive all the European stars, which means that, at the end, the tournament was of very high level.
We would, however, like to see more American players in 2013 than we did this year. For 2012, we were pleased to have Joe Grue, Roy Welland, Brad Moss with Les Amoils, John Diamond with Brian Platnick, Jessica Piafsky and the team of Mark Gordon with Alan Sontag and David Berkowitz. Ten from all these teams and pairs is really not enough. I know that decision was a little bit late, that there was a big regional in Florida, but we would have hoped a little bit more. The other regret for me is that Bob Hamman could not be in Monaco for this first
European Cavendish, because it would have been a great honor for us to welcome him. Perhaps next year.
• In order to complete this, I’ve to say that we’ve all been impressed by the job done by Zia Mahmood and Roy Welland for the auctions: They got more than 635000 euros (about $825,000). Of course,they had some great buyers in the room, that we must thank: Pierre Zimmermann, Evgueni Gladysh, Janet de Botton, Alfredo Versace, Michel Eidi, Roy Welland, Charles Wigoder, Joe Grue and Les Amoils,
but they succeeded in selling quite all the pairs.
• We also must say that the two changes that we made – a final for the teams tournament and the split into three groups for the last session of the pairs
– were good ideas. They were appreciated by the players and by the kibitzers on BBO, for example.
• Last point, and everybody agreed about this,the playing rooms were great and our technical team (Patrick Chalard, Gianluca Barrese, Gianni Baldi) made a great job with perfect organization and immediate results, highly supported by a perfect team of TDs (Antonio Riccardi, Jeanne van den Meiracker,Bertrand Gignoux).
All this together created a great week of bridge in Monaco.
Will there be any changes for the 2013 edition?
We learned a lot during this first edition and have seen some small problems that we will try to solve, so that the tournament is more pleasant than this year. On the other points, it’s a little bit too early to confirm all, but there shouldn’t be many changes. We are just considered whether to keep the idea of a Cavendish B (and, of course, if we keep it, we’ll promote it more than this year). We also thought of the possibility to create a “Ladies Cavendish” and we’re going to test the idea during the next weeks before deciding about that.
What events are there to attract players who will not be in the main event?
Of course, the first one is our 25th International Teams Tournament, which takes place during the weekend before the Cavendish. Most of the teams playing the first edition of the Cavendish came, played it and, I think, enjoyed it.
We’re then thinking of an event inside the Casino with our partners of the Société des Bains de Mer, but here too it’s too early to give precise news.
Is there a particular reason that the Cavendish is scheduled for the fall?
Yes, a very precise one which is due to the agendas of the events in Monaco and of the world bridge events:
• April is difficult with the Tennis Tournament here.
• May is impossible with the Formula 1 Races (and the historic races for old cars two weeks later) and the great Tournament of Juan les Pins,
• June is busy with the European Bridge Championships every year.
• July and August impossible with the hotels in Monaco,
• September is busy with three very big events:the congress of insurance companies, the Yacht Show, Sportel (market of sport programs and events for TVs).
As the first three months of the year are not the most pleasant to stay in Monaco, October was the logical choice, which allowed us to connect the
Cavendish with our yearly Teams Tournament and create a great week of bridge in Monaco.
Any other thoughts regarding participation by ACBL players?
It has been a pleasure for me and for our team to organize this first edition of the Cavendish, with the support of our friend Pierre Zimmermann. We’ve tried to keep the aim of the Vegas tournament, bringing some small technical changes and some European touch. Check with the players, I think that the result was really good.
I really would like to welcome more ACBL players for the second Cavendish in Monaco: they must know that the tournament is great, that Monaco is beautiful in October and that it’s neither difficult to come here, nor really expensive. Most of the airlines (including low-cost) have direct or one-stop flights
to Nice, and there are all categories of hotels in Monaco, all kinds of restaurants, too.
If ACBL players need any information or have any request, they just have to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll try to find the good answer to their requests.