36th World Team Championships, Monte Carlo, Monaco Saturday, 15 November 2003

IBPA Press Conference

Damiani: ‘Market’ will influence
future championship sites

When terrorists struck New York on September 11 two years ago, much in the world changed, including the way world bridge championship venues are selected.
The first casualty was the tournament scheduled for Bali, Indonesia. The World Bridge Federation managed to reroute equipment to Paris, where a very successful tournament was conducted.

At his press conference on Friday, WBF President Jose Damiani said the players will have a lot to say in the future about where the championships take place. “It depends on the response of what I call the market,” Damiani said. “Will the players come?”

North Americans will have a big influence on the situation, Damiani said. “We are in a difficult position with the world situation and we have to take that into account. Americans, for the time being, are not prepared to go to some countries. There is no safe country right now, but players feel safer in some.”

Having said that, Damiani added, Bali is still a possibility for 2005, along with Maderia and Malta. He said WBF executives will discuss the matter further in the spring of 2004.
Other items covered by Damiani during the meeting with members of the International Bridge Press Association:

  • A change in the incorporation of the WBF has been finalized. The organization will be incorporated in Lausanne, Switzerland, instead of New York City.
  • The WBF executive have adopted the Olympic code and support the goals of the World Anti-Doping Agency. WBF Vice President Jens Auken pointed out that under those rules first violation results in a two-year suspension, and the second offense results in a life-time ban.
  • The WBF is also cooperating with other mind-sport organizations – such as chess and draughts -- to work on the possible establishment of the Intellympics.
  • Starting in 2005, the minimum age for seniors will be advanced to 56 and increased by one year each year thereafter until the minimum age for playing in senior events is 60.
  • In 2004, the senior team event will include a complete round-robin and at least a semi-final and final round.
  • The WBF is also considering changes in the allowable conventions. For play in 2004, brown-sticker conventions will be permitted only in the knockout phases of competitions.
  • Istanbul is the site of the World Bridge Team Olympiad in 2004. Other possibilities include Cannes, France, in 2006 and China in 2007.

Damiani said the WBF is up to 125 countries at present, with applications for membership from Mongolia and Cuba, the latter of which has not formalized its bridge organization yet.

The WBF president also recognized the sponsors who have supported the championships – the Generali Group, the Companie Monegasgue de Bank, Louis Vuiitton and the Societe ded Bains de Mer.

The Monte Carlo tournament, Damiani said, has been very successful. “Monaco is one of the best venues we have ever had,” he said.

Panos Gerontopoulus, WBF vice president, described the organization’s efforts to get more youth involved in bridge. One of those efforts will be a World Junior Individual in next summer in New York City during the ACBL’s summer national tournament.

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