“The devil is in the detail.”
Let’s start with how to make the European Champions Cup a more meaningful event. Here’s a suggestion. The first step is to separate the Bermuda Bowl qualification process into two parts. The first of these would remain the European Championship and the winner of that event would still be European Champion. Thereafter, the top 12 teams from the European Championship would enter the Bermuda Bowl qualification process via the Champions Cup. This would become a double-knockout event with the bracket formed from 1 v. 12, 2 v. 11 and so on, according to the teams’ finish in the European Championship.
The six winners from Day 1 would play a match on Day 2 (all matches would be a full day – say 60 or 64 boards in length – but could be longer if desired) and the three winners would qualify for the Bermuda Bowl. On this same day (Day 2), the six losing teams from Day 1 would play a match and the three losers would be knocked out of the running. The three winners would play a further match on Day 3 against the three losers from the undefeated bracket. These three winners would also qualify for the Bermuda Bowl, making six qualifiers in all.
If Europe gets a seventh team, as sometimes happens when another NBO drops out, the highest-ranked team (from among the three latest KO losers) from the European Championship not yet qualified by these knockouts would make it.
Let’s go on to the Rosenblum and firstly, do away with the 10-12 team round robins before the knockout begins. We have enough round robin events already in the Bermuda Bowl and WMSG. Instead, let’s start the knockout immediately, as the Rosenblum was originally conceived and executed. This plan would be to divide (by seeding) the field into groups of four (and groups of three for the remainders) for direct knockout play, qualifying three teams from each group of four and two from each group of three, as was done in New Orleans in 1978.
The goal would be to come to 96 teams (or 48, depending on the number of entries) then have those teams continue in full-day knockouts until six teams were left. At that point, those six would be joined by two teams from either a “B” knockout bracket or a “Repêchage”, those eight teams to continue until a winner was declared. An alternative would be to come to three teams and have one team join from the B bracket/repêchage.
The idea is to return the Rosenblum to its original design as the “World Knockout Teams Championship”. Three, four, five or six days’ play could be guaranteed to all teams based on the design of the “B” bracket/Repêchage. As far as seeding goes, the teams would be numbered according to their WBF ranks from number 1 to whatever. Teams would be designated by their country with, for example, Italy’s top team being called Italy 1 and the next-ranked Italian team
being designated Italy 2 and so on – no personal or sponsor names.
Next, let’s take on the board-a-match world championship. On a four-year cycle, we could have:
2013 -Bermuda Bowl
2014 -Rosenblum KO Teams and World Open Pairs
2015 -Shanghai Cup (for example) – the new BAM world championship (see the Correspondence section)
2016 -WMSG / Olympiad
The Bermuda Bowl and Shanghai Cup would retain their current zonal qualification processes (22 teams from eight zones) and format (round robin qualifying eight teams for knockout play), the Rosenblum would return to national teams and direct knockout play, but with unlimited entries from each NBO and the WMSG would continue with one team from every WBF member nation divided into groups for round robin play and a 16-team KO.