The 2012 Buffett Cup has just ended. Some controversy arose at the the conclusion of the fourth edition of the transatlantic challange hosted in Omaha, Nebraska: No screens at tables, some difficulties from the BBO Vugraph operators and – first of all - the late change of the playing schedule, due to the early departure of Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, who left a day before the event to go to Paris where they played the final of the French interclub championship. Paul Hackett, co-founder and co-organizer of the event, replies with the the following statement:
When Fantoni and Nunes (representing Team Europe) had to catch an earlier flight to get back to Paris I suggested as one of the solutions that we advanced the schedule. The USA agreed to accommodate this but unfortunately there was a communication problem with Omaha of which I was not aware of until I arrived. Omaha had arranged for George Jacobs to fly in on the Thursday and run a vu-graph for which a substantial amount of local players had indicated they wish to attend.
Naturally Bob [co-founder/organizer Hamman; ed.] and I looked for a solution to try to satisfy everyone. We came up with a compromise. So that the vu-graph would go ahead (and incidentally it was popular and George did a great job) we decide to add 21 boards to the event. Only two tables would be in play, but after 7 boards the pairs would change. That meant we could play without Fantunes and one European pair would have to play twice. In our view the locals deserved this although I agree the change of format at the last moment looked strange.
I would also like to comment on two other points. We played without screens. Was that a problem? Not for the players. While the numbers who kibitz in the USA at the table is small it is not so in Europe.
As to BBO. Sadly it did not go according to plan. Budgets are always tight and we rely on local volunteers. They tried their hardest but some of them found it tough in the beginning. We need to examine how to start off in a venue which is not used to BBO. Changes which are being made by BBO with bridgepads may well become the solution.
The locals raised a considerable amount from having the Buffett cup in Omaha, including good funding for bridge in schools. Omaha loved having us there. Every player was proud to represent their continent. Let us look at the good side. Yes we can and we will try to improve but I am proud to be associated with an event which shows top class bridge played in it’s finest manner.
I co-ordinate the event when it is in Europe [2014 Gleneagles, Scotland where the Ryder Golf Cup will be held; ed.] and am always happy to listen to ideas. I already know for example that I will not have the same technical problems as they do in the USA.
September 20, 2012