World Championship in Veldhoven according to John Carruthers

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It is no trivial matter to organise a bridge World Championship these days, both in terms of expense and logistics. One country which always does an admirable job is The Netherlands and such was the case here. Hans Melchers stepped up with the cash and the Dutch put forth a tremendous effort on relatively short notice. A large contingent of friendly, helpful and efficient volunteers was available to assist where needed.

The venue for the 40th World Team Championships this year was outside the town of Veldhoven, in a converted monastery with magnificent playing conditions, small but comfortable hotel rooms and pretty good restaurants. For variety, there were a number of eating options in the town, a short walk away, but if it were too far, as it was for some, a shuttle service and local buses were available.

Technologically, this was the most advanced championship yet. There were the usual screens, bidding boxes and BridgeMate scoring system. Lineups were done electronically (with no foreknowledge of the opponents’ lineup), scorecard printouts were available to every player and captain with barcoded security badges, and match results and standings were available instantly and updated with each board played. Cameras recorded the bidding and play at six tables each match and will become de riguer in the not-toodistant future Matches were broadcast on the Internet (with voice commentary) over BBO, StepBridge (NED) and OurGame (CHN). Live VuGraph was available in English and in Dutch in separate auditoria. Excellent and very attractive Daily Bulletins were ably edited by Brent Manley and assisted by a large group of co-editors and writers.

Not that this was a perfect event. Veldhoven is about 25 minutes from the nearest train station and with few exceptions, if arriving internationally, one had to land in Schiphol, an hour and a half away. This disadvantage was somewhat ameliorated by frequent shuttles between Schiphol and Veldhoven.

The organisers thought of everything. The World Bridge Federation has got it exactly right with the current format, with the Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup and d’Orsi Cup running in parallel, with 21 x 16-board matches, three a day, in the round-robin portion of the event, and 96-board knockout matches for the top 8 qualifiers of the 22 teams entered in each event. The Bermuda Bowl final is an extra 32 boards long.

The only weak spot is the Transnational Teams, which does not begin until the quarterfinals in the other three events are over. This allows 12 extra teams to enter the TNT, but means two days’ wait for non-qualifiers (42 teams) and necessitates compressing the knockouts somewhat. If the TNT were begun concurrently with the quarterfinals, a better event could be staged. Less desirably perhaps, dropin teams knocked out of the quarterfinals could be allowed.

John Carruthers

(IBPA Bulletin November 2011)

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