36th World Team Championships, Monte Carlo, Monaco Monday, 3 November 2003

The President’s Speech

Remarks of Jose Damiani, President of the World Bridge Federation, at the opening ceremonies Sunday evening.

WBF President

M. Le Ministre
M. le President
Mesdames, Messieurs

Thank you – thank you all – or nearly all – for being here in Monaco. Considering the troubles we face with international travel and international problems, I think it is little short of a miracle. A miracle that owes everything to the cooperation between us, especially for those who needed visas, and they will know just how hard we had to work to obtain these so that they could be with us.

Once more, bridge will show that it works for peace even though occasionally one does wonder about solidarity within the world bridge community.

It is obvious that many countries, many federations, have financial problems and we are pleased that they found a good solution for their stay here in Monaco, which is quite beautiful but unfortunately also a little expensive.

Nonetheless cheap accommodations were available and we are sure you will find that good, inexpensive food can also be found here. We are fortunate that many other federations and teams offer positive support to the organisation by staying in the hotels of the Société des Bains de Mer, which host the Championships in the Sporting d’hiver and the Bellevue.

I would like to offer my personal and sincere thanks to those who supported us in this way. On the other hand, those others who are able to support the organisation but choose not to do so must be warned. By serving only their own short-term interests instead of looking to the future and considering the good of bridge in general, they jeopardise the long-term future of the game.

In the same way, we must all respect our sport and, indeed, respect ourselves. It is very important that these Championships are played in an ethical and sportsmanlike manner, both for the players and for the many people who watch us, both here and through Internet.

This means that every effort must be made to follow the regulations, which are clear and precise, and that full disclosure of systems and conventions is achieved using the examples given.

This time we have, regretfully, seen a problem with the way in which some of the Brown Sticker conventions were filed by some pairs. It seems that while the HUM systems disappear the Brown Sticker systems flourish but that the documentation of these methods has fallen short of our requirements, and you must recognise that this is unacceptable.

I ask all teams playing in future events to ensure that these systems regulations are followed a great deal more carefully than appears to have been the case on this occasion. This is where you, the champions, have the chance to set the standards that all can follow by ensuring that your systems are clear, and your ethics beyond reproach, ensuring that bridge is seen to be a sport of conviviality and fair play. Believe me, your efforts will be followed and appreciated by the 60 million bridge players all over the world who want to understand constructive bidding.

If bridge as a sport is to have any chance of attracting media attention, and the coveted TV coverage that is something we would all like to have, then it has to be understood by the spectators. Understanding bridge, at least to some extent, is also a condition needed in order to attract sponsors – sponsors such as those we are fortunate to have here today, with our friends from the Generali Group, the Monaco Principality, the Compagnie Monegasque de Banque, Louis Vuitton and the Société Général, all of whom I thank most sincerely, both personally and on behalf of all of you. They all contribute to the quality of the organisation for all of us, players and administrators alike.

There are, of course, some things that we don’t and can’t control … we need to offer a prayer to the weather God to allow you fully to appreciate and enjoy this marvelous Monaco venue.

I wish you all good bridge, a good stay, and I am now happy to declare the 2003 World Championships open with the presentation of the teams which will take place now.

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