The 14th World Youth Bridge Team Championships will be held in Taicang, a historic port city near Shanghai, in China, from 25 July to 4 August 2012. A quarter of a century since its original launch, the flagship competition of the WBF youth programme is expanded to accommodate a total of 20 zone-representative teams in each of the Junior and Youngsters series, and 14 teams in the Girls series. Another piece of good news is that with this edition the World Youth Team Championships returns to being again independently organized - the first time since 2006.
All Zones of the World Bridge Federation are invited to participate in this prestigious tournament with representative teams in each series. The host country is entitled to field one team in each series. Players in the Junior and Girls series may be up to 25 years old, while in the Youngsters series up to 20 years old.
The Championships consist of a qualifying stage, semifinals, a final and a playoff for third place in each series. The winners of the Junior series final will be the new World Junior Champions; they will receive the Ortiz-Patiño Trophy and silver replicas for each player and the non-playing captain. For the winners of the Youngsters series final there is the José Damiani Cup and replicas, in addition to the World Youngsters Champions title. Finally, the World Girls Champions will receive the Gianarrigo Rona Cup.
This is the 14th event of the (Junior) series which was inaugurated in 1987 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As a biennial competition, it was held in 1989 in Nottingham, Great Britain; in 1991 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; in 1993 in Århus, Denmark; in 1995 in Bali, Indonesia; in 1997 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; in 1999 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, in 2001 in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2003 in St.Cloud-Paris, France, in 2005 in Sydney, Australia; in 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand; in 2008 in Beijing, China and in 2010 in Philadelphia, USA.
The host country - The Netherlands, Great Britain & USA - won the Championship on the first three occasions, but this tradition was broken in 1993 by Germany. In 1995, Great Britain became the first country to win the title twice. Denmark won the title in 1997 and Italy in 1999. In 2001, USA became champions for the second time; Italy followed suit in 2003, but USA took the lead in 2005 and conquered the world title for the fourth time in 2006! 2008 marked Denmark's second victory, while in 2010 a new winner emerged: Israel.
The World Youngsters Team Championship is held this year for the fifth time. In 2004, in New York, only Europe and North America took part, and the first winners were Poland. Israel won the 2006 edition and France in 2008, but Poland came back in 2010 winning the title for the second time.
Finally, following an experimental launch in 2010, won by Poland, this year the World Girls Team Championship will be contested by representatives of all WBF zones, having at stake the Gianarrigo Rona Cup, donated by the WBF President.
For details on the previous World Youth Team Championships, click here.
To see the reigning champions, click here to go to the 13th World Youth Team Championships site.