Last Sunday (June 10, 2012) bridge star David Gold from England was a guest of the Bridge Live Show, broadcast on BTCC (BridgeTopics.com Channel). BTCC is a new web TV produced by Neapolitan Club and BridgeTopics.com. Gold is currently a member of English Open Team: The European Team Championships in Dublin are the main topic of the interview hosted by Jan van Cleeff and Laura Cecilia Porro. Some questions were suggested by public too. We publish here a short summary.
David, what’s your forecast about the European? Be honest, pls…
My honest forecast is: Italy, Netherlands, Monaco, Poland, Israel, and probably Sweden, but there are almost as many as 10 or 12 countries that could take the 6th or 5th spot instead of those. It’s a very strong event. But these are the most likely six to be honest.
But are you going to Dublin for winning? It’s a long time England has not had success, it might be time now.
We qualified for the Bermuda Bowl in 2004, we did not win a medal in over 20 years. It’s possible but it would be very difficult.
Which team are you most afraid of?
Italy. Then Netherlands, although they do not tend to do as well in the Euro, but I have a bad record against them. There are lots of great teams: Monaco, Poland…
It’s hard to be in the first six, is it not?
It’s extremely difficult, coming first 6 is a really great achievement in my opinion.
Some players think that the European championships are more difficult than a world championship, what is your opinion on that?
It is difficult to compare. European is a pure round robin, whereas Bermuda Bowl includes knock out, if one takes the round Robin of European and round Robin of Bermuda Bowl, winning round Robin of European is significantly more difficult than Bermuda Bowl’s round Robin, by a long way. But winning Bermuda Bowl involves winning long knock outs, so as a whole I would not say that winning European is more difficult than winning Bermuda Bowl, but the round Robin itself is much more difficult.
You has made a forecast who will qualify but I did not hear your own country.
When I wrote the forecast on BridgeTopics.com, I put my own country, because I always enter the tournament with that kind of mentality, and we feel we have a chance, but I have been asked an honest question and I gave an honest answer, these are the most likely six to qualify. I do not think that means that we will not qualify, but these are the most likely.
Do you think this is the strongest team for England? Is this your ideal English team?
I am very happy, it’s a good English team, maybe it is the best team, maybe not: there are obviously some pairs that some think should be on the team. I think is this good team, and the reason why the selectors went for this team, is that we get on very well and we get the best out of each other, everyone supports each other. We prepared for this more than in the past, we go through the boards in great detail every evening, it is a good choice by the selectors and I am looking forward to it.
David, you have played a little bit of chess: what are the common aspects of the two games and the differences?
I do not think there are many common aspects at all between the two games, bridge is for me is very different, it’s a partnership game, it’s got a social communication element, whereas chess players do not communicate very well. The main difference is the element of communication, I do not see similarities apart from the strategy, bridge is much more interesting and overall more difficult even though it is not a pure intelligence game, there are more different skills involved, it’s more interesting.
Is there a lot of psychology in bridge?
Yeah psychology in many different ways: for example if you play a long match against people sometimes you can get into their heads or you can confuse them, and give them an image of yourself that is not the case, on any individual hand you can play to mislead the defence about what your hand is, or bidding, there are many tactical areas whereas you have nothing to hide behind in chess, it’s a purer game.
Back to bridge. Pro or teacher?
I do not like teaching. I much prefer playing.
What is the victory you enjoyed the most and the defeat that still burns?
My best victory and defeat are all in one, at the World Mind Games 2008 we lost narrowly to Italy, it is my best achievement, but I am still upset we did not win the gold. It felt like an opportunity missed.
What do you think of Lavazza’s resignation as Team Manager of Italian open team?
I think it could actually affect their result quite a lot, it’s not a fantastic service for Italian bridge, I think they eventually will suffer a bit, there are not as many good players as in the US, so I think it will affect their result, they will win less events.
Can you tell us something about the sponsor of your team?
Allfrey is been playing for the last 10 years, 4-5 years with Robson, he’s a strong player, they were selected because they are one of the strongest pair in England, as a pair they had the best record for the past 5-6 years, maybe not as good as Andrew, but not many players are. They are friends as well, they work hard, Andrew improved his game enormously, he’s a strong player, you’ll see.
What system do you prefer to play, classic Acol 12-14 or 2/1?
I prefer Acol, but lots of English players now play 2/1. We play something unique, loosely speaking there is an element of 2/1 and 5 card majors, but the responding structure is unique. We respond with 5 card majors, and we found that this works very well.
Are there players who inspired you?
The Italians, Meckstroth, Rodewll and Helness: I love playing against him. And my current partner Tony Forrester who taught me a lot.
David, what is your opinion on the US being able to send two teams to the Bermuda Bowl?
I do not feel strongly, but it depends what the Bermuda Bowl is, if it is a world championship, then there should be one team, if it is just the Bermuda Bowl then I can see the case for two teams. They could put up 3 or 4 teams that were capable of winning the event. I do not feel strongly, but if it is deemed to be a world championship then to be honest one team. If you refer to the statistics, then statistics are a little be meaningless when a country has had two opportunities at every championship, when every other country had one.
You’ve been the non-playing captain of the English junior team, what did you tell them to do, what was your input what did you recommend to them?
Believe it or not, my biggest piece of advice I gave my team (and I would not necessarily give the same advice to another team), I told them not to bid any slams under any circumstances. I thought they would do better buy not bidding any slams. If they had listened to me they would have qualified for the World Junior Championships. I try to keep the team happy, that they get to bed on time, without alcohol, with no more than one drink. In these tournaments in my experience the biggest thing is momentum, once you start winning you continue to win, once you start losing it becomes harder to win, I try to motivate them.
June 14, 2012