The 14th World Bridge Games will take place in Lille, France, from 9 to 23 August 2012, being part of the 2nd World Mind Games.
The World Mind Games were established in 2008 as the major event organized by IMSA (International Mind Sports Association). IMSA is the umbrella organization of several mind sports, at present comprising, Bridge, Chess, Droughts and Go. Xiang Qi (Chinese chess) is normally invited to attend the IMSA events. IMSA was established in 2005 with the objective to demonstrate the value of mind sports and lead them to the Olympic family. The inaugural World Mind Sports Games took place in Beijing, China in 2008. Beijing was also the venue of the 1st SpotAccord Mind Sports, held in December 2011.
The World Bridge Games were established in 1960 under the name World Team Olympiad to be organized on every leap year. All member countries of the WBF are invited to field representative (national) teams in the various series. At the beginning there were open and women series; a senior series was added in 2000. In 2008, the World Team Olympiad was incorporated in the World Mind Sports Games, assuming its present name, World Bridge Games.
The World Bridge Games, now in their 14th edition, are played in a qualifying and a final stage. The qualifier is normally a round robin, played in groups, depending on the number of participating teams in each series. The final stage is a knockout competition among the qualifiers, leading to a final match for the first two places and a playoff for the third place. The winner of the open series captures the Vanderbilt Trophy, established by Harold S. Vanderbilt, the inventor of modern bridge scoring.
The first winner of the Vanderbilt Trophy was France, who repeated their success three more times (1980, 92, 96), but the undeniable multi-winner is ITALY who have captured the Trophy six times (1964, 68, 72, 2000, 04, 08)! There have been three more winners of the open series, each taking the gold once: Brazil (1976), Poland (1984) and USA (1988).
In the women series, the most successful nation has been the United States of America with four titles (1980, 84, 96, 2000). Italy and Great Britain/England follow with two victories each, while the (now dissolved) United Arab Republics, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Russia have won the title once.
Finally, in the short history of the senior series, the United States of America lead the race with two victories (2000, 04), while Japan is the current title holder.
Another competition will take place in Lille, on the sidelines of the World Bridge Games. The World Transnational Mixed Teams will be held after the three series of the World Bridge Games have entered the knockout stage, thus enabling players from all non-qualified teams to participate.
For details on the World Team Olympiads, click here; the World Bridge Games are detailed here.
To see the reigning champions, click here to go to the 13th World Bridge Games site.
• For a list of the previous winners at the World Mixed Teams Championships, click here.