International Bridge Press Association

 PHOTO: John Carruthers

 Bridge authorities have shown great perspicacity in the organisation of their events lately. Most importantly, the World Bridge Games (formerly the Olympiad Teams) had three main events, Open, Women’s and Seniors, and all were run in parallel, playing the same boards with, for the most part, three sessions of 16 boards per day. The organisers were even able to synchronise the final two Round Robin matches in the Seniors event with the first two sessions of the Knockout stages of the Open and Women’s events.

The World Bridge Federation had already organised the Bermuda Bowl/Venice Cup/d’Orsi Bowl along similar lines, all three series having the same number of teams and the same structure. The final step is to do the same for the next Rosenblum Cup/McConnell Cup/Rand Cup. The Rand Cup in Philadelphia was a poor event, with only a two-day qualifying stage, much too short for a world championship. Speaking of short, we must mention one of our pet peeves, the playoffs for bronze medals in bridge world championships. If we must have them (awarding double bronze medals
seems more humane, doesn’t it?), let’s make them real events, the same length as the gold medal matches. In practice, the bronze medal matches are loathed by the participants and all but ignored by the Daily Bulletins, onsite VuGraph, World Championship book and BBO. If we care about them, let’s make them important events; if we do not care about them, let’s get rid of them and award bronze medals to both losing semifinallists.

The Buffett Cup, although still experiencing growing pains, took a large step forward in making all deals point-a-board, greatly simplifying the scoring. We’d like to see the so-called ‘singles’ matches eliminated and the event slightly altered to teams and pairs only. The teams would be scored at PAB, as it is currently, and the pairs at total points.

In the pairs, three of each team’s pairs would sit North-South and three East-West and play head to head against one pair of opponents. In effect, pairs is bridge’s equivalent of singles at golf. The individual, as now constituted, just doesn’t wotk in a head-tohead multi-pair team format and is almost extinct as a form of competition anyway.

The Cavendish Invitational also showed imagination in moving to Monte Carlo this year, giving more Europeans the opportunity to compete. Provided all are happy with the result, the plan is to alternate between Las Vegas and Monte Carlo each year. The only downside that we could observe was that few Americans took the opportunity to come to Monaco. Most notable absentees were Steve Weinstein and Bobby Levin, five-time winners of the Cavendish Invitational Pairs, and Bob Hamman, doyen of World Bridge Productions (WBP), owners and organisers of the Cavendish. Assuming
all the principals are happy with the results from Monaco, would it be possible to look at other locations for the event? It would seem that the Gold Coast Congress in Australia would be an ideal co-host. Or perhaps Macau?

In moving the Cavendish to Monaco, WBP is following the lead of the Yeh Bros. Cup, which next year will be in Japan, to be held in conjunction with the NEC Festival. Previous Yeh Bros. Cups have been in China, Australia (with the Gold Coast Congress) and Taiwan, and the organisers are open to bids from other nations to host the event.