The World Bridge Tour (WBT) is a new international bridge competition that was conceived in 2018 and approved by the Executive Council in 2019. However, due to the Covid pandemic, the launch was delayed. I’ve been hearing about this competition for quite a few years and it’s nice to see the idea has finally been implemented. Below are some details based on information from the official World Bridge Tour website.
The Tour is launching a “dry run” season in 2023 with the intention of going “live” in 2024.
The rankings are of partnerships, not players or teams, and both team and pairs events are included. A player can appear in several partnerships, if playing with different partners in different Tour events. Organisers of included events must be able to furnish information on the number of boards or sessions played by a partnership in Team events
Events will not be limited by gender or age and are open to all members in good standing of a WBF affiliated NBO. Included events must have a significant participation of foreign partnerships. Detailed regulations, events, and Tour Ranking Point scales are available on the WBT website. Participating events will be divided into 3 categories (similar to in Tennis) with different ranking point scales. The current ranking will be continuously updated and published on the WBF website.
The WBT is designed to be an exciting and constantly changing ranking system throughout the year, similar to other sports tours or series. Players qualifying for Tour Ranking Points (TRPs) must be registered in the World Bridge Federation (WBF) database.
The WBT events will only include face-to-face events that are organized by the WBF, Zonal Conferences, National Bridge Organizations (NBOs), or other organizations (but typically, at least sanctioned by an NBO). There are a number of pre-selected events already included. Other open events with international participation can apply for inclusion by emailing email@example.com.
As mentioned above, the Tour Ranking Point (TRP) scales and the events’ categorization will be evaluated during the “dry run” season in 2023. All designations for this season should be considered as preliminary and may be adjusted where deemed necessary before going live. As of 2024, WBT events will also be eligible for a certain allocation of WBF Master Points, and a sanctioning fee (still to be determined) will be levied.
The WBT will finish with a Pairs Final.
During the season, team events will have minimum playing requirements for each partnership to receive TRPs. The detailed regulations, events, and TRP scales are available on the WBT website, and the initial reactions from players and NBOs have been very positive.
The default requirements for an event to be included are:
Applicant events must be open to all members of a WBF affiliated NBO
Applicant events must have a substantial international participation
Applicant events must be of minimum 3 days length (or about 150+ boards)
It’s hoped that a series of this sort, with the rankings continuously being updated as the year progresses, will generate interest and raise the profile of bridge. And of course it’s also hoped there will be perks for the participants once sponsors are in place. These might include free room and board for the WBT Finals, as well as some prize money and possibly a travel allowance. No entry fee will be charged.
An easy way to see how things are working is to visit the website and click on Events and Results. Currently the top 10 in overall rankings are:
1 David Gold & Zia Mahmood 100
1 Joe Grue & Brad Moss 100
3 Antonio Sementa & Alfredo Versace 87
3 Giorgio Duboin & Michael Kamil 87
5 Andy Hung & Liam Milne 83
6 Paul Dalley & Tony Nunn 72
7 Brian Platnick & Kevin Rosenberg 71
8 Giovanni Donati & Giacomo Percario 70
8 Jing Liu & Yinghao Liu, 70
8 Simon De Wijs & Bauke Muller 70
And while new events may be added, you can find the current list of events here