World Bridge Tour Update – Readying for the Windy City

World Bridge Tour Update – Readying for the Windy City

By Alex J. Coyne © Great Bridge Links, July, 2023

The World Bridge Federation’s inaugural World Bridge Tour season is well underway with sixteen of a total of 31 events having already been played. We’ve round up the results and will help you follow the World Bridge Tour with links and look-aheads. Enjoy!

WBT Recap

Winners of 2023 EBL Transnational Teams medals

Winners photo from Daily Bulletin #16:

The European Transnational Championships in Strasbourg, France

Three events in the World Bridge Tour took place in Strasbourg, France during the European Transnational Championships –  The EBL Transnational Teams, the EBL Transnational Pairs, and the EBL Transnational BAM. The tournament took bridge to one of the most fantastic settings for a World Bridge Tour event setting: Strasbourg, France.

Partnership Thomas Bessis & Cedric Lorenzini were leading the WBT at the end of the tournament. 

The pair was part of the European Transnational Open Teams winning team Vinciguerra  (WBT placing in brackets) which included Thomas Bessis / Cedric Lorenzini (1), Marc Bompis / Franck Multon (20),  Philippe Soulet / Herve Vinciguerra (3)). Second were Julien Bernard / Nicolas Lhuissier (15), Alain Levy / Eric Mauberquez (15),  and Jerome Rombaut / Leo Rombaut (4)

The Transnational Open Pairs was won by Sabine Auken and Roy Welland, currently tied for 4th place with the Rambouts in the WBT. This win makes them the first pair to win this event twice, having also won in 2013. Eliran Argelazie (n/a) and Lee Rosenthal (61) placed second, and Boye Brogeland and Christian Bakke took third, placing them 11th on the WBT.

The Transnational BAM was won by Nikos Delimpaltadakis / Vassilis Vroustis (9th place) Andrzej Jaszczak/Jacek Pszczola (53rd place) & Kiki Ward-Platt (80th place). Jean-Luc Aroix / Jeremie Tignel (63), Bénédicte Cronier / Philippe Cronier (63), Wilfried Librecht / Franck Riehm (63) took second and Dennis Bilde / Agustin Madala (18), Pierre Franceschetti / Quentin Robert (41), and Hilda Setton (74) took third.

In Saubine Auken’s own words on social mediaThomas B6 and Cédric Lorenzini have sneaked in front of Antonio Sementa and Alfredo Versace to take the lead. There are two more French pairs in the top 4. Not surprising really after the French powerhouse performance at the EBL Transnational championships in Strasbourg last month. The ACBL Summer NABC are at our doorsteps. Time to make a move, Joseph Grue! Btw Jean Jacques Tambour and Léo Rombaut, should we team up for a tournament soon?

Leaders Profile: Who Are They?

Current #1 ranking partnership Thomas Bessis & Cedric Lorenzini are no strangers to high-level bridge competition, and this wasn’t their first rodeo — or bridge tournament. Bessis has racked up many international wins, including three NABCs (2010, 2012, 2015) and the coveted Cavendish Pairs (2019). Cédric took the previous top spot at the Norman Kay Platinum Pairs in 2015, and was in the runners-up partnership for the same event in 2014. When put together, it seems like the top-ranking current World Bridge Tour partnership creates a winning union!

We can only wait and see if the next games bring a considerable change to the rankings.

A View From the Tables

There’s been a lot of fun to accompany the World Bridge Tournament, including some footage directly from the tables at the Strasbourg games.

  • Would you like to share any videos or photo galleries from World Bridge Tour events with GBL and its readers? Contact us!

Online bridge wasn’t left behind, and Funbridge hosted a special Strasbourg bridge event for any players who still wanted to play bridge (but may not have entered for any of the 31 face-to-face games part of the World Tour).

What’s Up Next?

A total of 31 events make up the World Bridge Tour, of which 16 events have already been played. What’s next?

The Chicago NABCs are the next event in the World Bridge Tour’s calendar, taking place on the 13th to 23rd of July. 

If you’ve ever played a tabletop tournament, you’ll know just how exciting the next games could prove to be.  We wish all bridge players and their partnerships the best of luck for the upcoming events!

The 2023 Chicago NABCs

The Chicago NABCs remain a bright highlight of the international bridge calendar, drawing some of the best players to the hub of electric blues and card games.

The WBT will have three qualifying events in Chicago :

  • Spingold Master Knockout Teams (Category A)
  • Whernher Open Pairs (Category C)
  • Roth Open Swiss Teams (Category B)

The Spingold Trophy, donated by Nathan B. Spingold in 1934, is one of ACBL’s most highly prized team trophies. The event, which attracts virtually all of the world’s best bridge players, is widely considered one of the toughest events in the world. Many bridge aficionados consider the modern day Spingold tougher to win than a World Championship.

The Wernher Open Pairs is a four session matchpoint pairs event, with two qualifying sessions and two final sessions. The event is open to any player, but due to its current conflicting schedule with the more prestigious Spingold Knockout Teams, it is generally considered to be the weakest open national event on the calendar.  The Wernher trophy is named after Sir Derrick J. Wernher, a leading personality in American bridge in the Thirties. Wernher was president of the American Bridge League in 1933, chairman of its Master Plan committee and a member of the board of directors of the American Whist League

Known originally as the Open Swiss Teams, it is a national-rated event first held in 2005 and renamed in 2010 as the Roth Open Swiss Teams in honor of Al Roth. The event is a four-session Swiss teams, with two qualifying and two final sessions, typically starting on the second Saturday of the summer NABC; it is open and scored in IMPs.

Many thanks to Wikipedia for this information.

Bridge in Chicago

Contract bridge has a special history in Chicago, and it’s the place where four-deal or ‘Chicago’-style bridge games gained popularity. The Standard Club of Chicago was founded in 1869, becoming a place where businesspeople and card players could mix together. Today, Chicago still has a lively bridge scene – and the NABCs that are played here only present part of the full picture.

The Art Institute of Chicago and the Sears Tower are just two attractions located here. If you’re a fan of the blues, you can also visit Buddy Guy’s Legends, a famed blues club owned by the blues player with the polka-dot Stratocaster that has been going strong since1989.

The Chicago Contract Bridge Association (CCBA) is the place to go for Chicago bridge games outside of the more famous NABC’s schedule.

Where to Watch the World Bridge Tour

If you’d like to keep a regular eye on the World Bridge Tour, bookmark these links and plug straight into the latest news, tour events, and general details on the championship.

Official World Bridge Tour WBT Link

Official World Bridge Tour Events List (2023)

Official World Bridge Tour News Link


Marketing Bridge: Why the World Bridge Tour Could Make a Difference

Kamras says, there’s no reason to limit bridge marketing to bridge players alone.  The simple statement may be one of the most pivotal things that have been said by an authoritative figure in bridge for a long time. 

Bridge players know the game and its conventions. Most of us are familiar with platforms like BBO and Funbridge, or conventions like Stayman and Drury. What about the people who aren’t playing bridge? Somewhere, there is untapped marketing potential.

The greatest potential growth for the game’s future could rest with the people who aren’t playing the game yet. Events like the Superbowl can draw millions of viewers, but this number would be drastically reduced if statistics only included the market-slice consisting of people who play football.

Bridge featured in a recent enough episode of Family Guy, and it proves at least partially that the way bridge markets is changing. 

[After Peter shoots himself while Lois tediously explains the rules of euchre, he wakes up in Hell playing the same game of euchre; the scene plays out with a voice-over pointing out that contract bridge is much easier than euchre – and that this was an insert “sponsored by contract bridge.”]

How many people found their way to bridge games after this scene aired?

Morbid humour isn’t for everyone and the gag might even be called in bad taste, but even then readers should be able to notice that there’s been a pivotal turning point for bridge at more or less this point in the century — and how the game is viewed by others.

The World Bridge Tour could bring enjoyment of competitive bridge to several types of people: viewers who like high-level competition but don’t necessarily play the game, and bridge players who enjoy watching the world’s best compete.

Imagine BBC’s Grand Slam set in a modern, streaming era with only the best players at the table. If that’s a tournament you’d want to see [or know someone who would], the World Bridge Tour is worth adding to your watchlist.

Are You… An NBO or Sponsor?

National Bridge Organizations or possible event sponsors are encouraged to get in touch with the World Bridge Federation at… for more information or details on how to participate.

The World Bridge Tour: The Same, But Different…

The World Bridge Tour is two things at once: the same, but also different.

According to the World Bridge Federation’s official details, there’s only one “new” event in the game’s calendar – and that’s the WBT Finals. Events remain standard, and the World Bridge Tour will still embrace the individual events which now make up international bridge competition.

Introduction of a World Bridge Tour isn’t changing much for players of the game, but instead the event may change everything for viewers who would just love to see a grand, competitive card event.

Players won’t get confused, but non-players might be easily introduced.

For now, online bridge games aren’t chosen as part of the World Bridge Tour. Face-to-face tournaments part of the existing World Bridge Federation’s circuit are eligible, and players will make their way to the newly-introduced Finals after making their way through the existing circuit.

Why does it matter adding one more event? 

“Finals” could be a very important word for the game’s broader marketing in the age of internet keywords. Personally, I’ve never followed international darts, but have watched a couple of games at the finals. “Finals” are fun, and finals draw people.

According to an ESPN press release, the 2022 NBA Finals [on ABC] had 12,402,000 viewers. European poker fans can program the World Poker Tour right into their Samsung Smart TV for easier access.

Staggering, but this realm of viewership is well within the reach of bridge, too. 

The WBT is still in the early phases, and players are welcome to add their thoughts to the mix as the tournament develops. 

This post may be something to look back at in retrospective fondness soon, when the World Bridge Tour is one of the most popular streaming events of the modern age.

From the World Bridge Federation

If you’d like to know more about the World Bridge Tour as a player, viewer, sponsor, or organization then you are encouraged to contact the WBF. 

Official WBF resources related to the World Bridge Tour can be found at this page and may be subject to further announcements or changes. 

A short summary of the WBT and its goals appears below, quoted directly from the World Bridge Federation:

  1. The ranking is of partnerships, not of players or whole teams.
  2. Players qualifying for TRPs must be, or become, registered in the WBF database.
  3. Both Teams and Pairs events are included. Only “face-to-face” events can be included. They can be organized by the WBF, Zonal Conferences, NBOs or others (but then, typically, at least sanctioned by an NBO).
  4. The only event in the calendar that is unique to the WBT will be the WBT Finals.
  5. Team events will have minimum playing requirements for each partnership to receive TRPs.
  6. 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 once the WBT goes live in 2024.

In order to apply and qualify as a WBT event, the events must: 

  1. not be limited by gender or age.
  2. be open to all members in good standing of a WBF affiliated NBO. 
  3. have a significant participation of foreign partnerships.