This note was published in the II WMSG, Lille 2012 Bulletins
Pierre is 57. He has been married to Christine for 17 years, they have two children — a boy and a girl – who are on very good terms with Pierre’s three children from a previous marriage. He plays bridge with French star Franck Multon for Monaco and holds two passports, Swiss and French. He lives partly in Geneva , general manager of a successful real estate company, la régie Zimmermann. We met him between two (winning) matches for Monaco.
JPM: We met you last year as you were nominated Bridge Personality of the Year; here you are, having just won the European title in Dublin and in a team that is favorite to win the world title next week: Where will you stop?
Pierre Zimmermann: I would gladly answer “no limit,” but here in Lille I think four countries are favored: USA, Italy, Netherlands and Monaco with Germany, Russia and Poland as outsiders.
JPM: Successful in your family life, in your professional career, and now in bridge, is there a Zimmermann method?
PZ: The motto of my company is Travail et tempérance sont les meilleurs docteurs de l’homme* — Jean Jacques Rousseau. It is true for every field, I admit errors from my collaborators and from my bridge teammates. I like action but criticism is not allowed if success is not here. What I like is that all members of our team are friends and accept accidents from the others without a word, knowing the balance will be positive. * Translation: “Work and moderation are the best doctors for men.”
JPM: The late Antoine Bernheim used to say that he preferred to win a bridge tournament than to have a winning d eal in
business. Do you agree?
PZ: Real estate business is made of many small d eals and losing one is not so important, so I support fully this idea.
JPM: A lot has been written about the creation of the new Monaco team. Please express your opinion on the subject.
PZ: The “project Monaco” came to life with the important support of Jean-Charles Allavena and the eagerness of Fantoni and Nunes to get to an happy end. They were heavily criticized by some Italian players and Mrs Lavazza, who
thought their ranking of first and second in the world was pure luck. They wanted to prove the contrary, and knew
they had no international future in Italy. Winning is very important for them — and also for me. For playing, they get
moderate fees but large bonus for results. That is my policy in bridge and business. Monaco’s team is the weapon of revenge for the two Italian champions.
JPM: You are member of French Federation, by playing for Monaco with Franck Multon, probably the best French player, are you aware that you have weakened the French team ?
PZ: The Monaco team is not a final goal for me. I invest a lot in Monaco and organizing bridge in the principality and, with my support, the Cavendish Invitational will be played in Monte Carlo this year. I hope to get agreements to have a
European and a world championships there. I have the full support of the Societé des Bains de Mer — this is not the case with casinos in Las Vegas – and had the pleasure and honor to discuss some details in private with Prince Albert. This proves to me that I am working in the right direction.
JPM: You showed recently your support to IMSA. Can you explain?
PZ: I like the concept. I won a chess title in university in Switzerland in my early age, and I play some Go without much success, but first my support goes to José Damiani, who has done so much for the development of bridge.
JPM: How much of your time and money do you invest in bridge?
PZ: I play bridge 90 days per year. How much it costs me I will not tell you but certainly less than people usually think. Money is now for me a means, not an aim. There is a real pleasure to give!
JPM: Finally, do you wish to add anything?
PZ: Yes I wish the European Bridge League to become professional with stronger structure and organizing several European events every year, as the ACBL does in North America. There would be more sponsors if they get the chance to play more tournaments and win more titles.
JPM: Did we just interview the next EBL President?
PZ: Certainly not, but if a small side chair is available…