World Open Pairs champions:
Fu-Zhao (China)

The 2006 World Bridge Championships (12th in the series of Pairs events, and 8th in the series of Team events) took place in Verona, Italy, 9-24 June, with some two thousand players participating from most of the WBF member countries and all geographical zones.

The five main events (Rosenblum and McConnell Teams, Mixed, Open and Women’s pairs) were dominated by Americans but the biggest splash came from the Chinese, who the Open pairs and became their country’s first ever gold medalists.


The Rosenblum is the second major world teams title for Meltzer, who became the first woman to win the Bermuda Bowl, in 2001, ironically defeating Helness and Helgemo in the process. She thus joins an august and relatively short list of players to have accomplished this double feat. It was a long overdue World Championship Gold Medal for the Norwegians, who had previously lost two Bermuda Bowl Finals.



Curiously, Carlyn Steiner followed a similar strategy, having lost the final of the Olympiad in Istanbul two years ago. She asked part of the winning Russian team, Victoria Gromova and Tatiana Ponomareva to join her squad (Marinesa Letizia, Tobi Sokolow, and Janice Seamon-Molson) for Verona, and together they carried all before them, recovering from an early 40IMP deficit to win their final relatively comfortably. Steiner must have felt they had destiny on their side, since to reach the finals they had defeated the Chinese woman’s team on the very last board of their semi-final match.


For the last few years Jack Zhao and Fu Zhong have played together for China and also all around the world. They were part of Seymon Deutsch’s Vanderbilt winning team this year, playing every board of that event. They edged out Steve Weinstein and Bobby Levin, who thus collected two silver medals, (one in the Mixed Teams behind Karen McCallum and Matthew Granovetter). Ironically, Jill Levin, Bobby’s wife, also collected a second silver medal to go with her Mixed Teams award, hers coming in the McConnell Teams. In third place in the Open Pairs were the defending champions, Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, the closest any partnership has ever got to defending their title in this, the most challenging pair event in the world.

The World Bridge Championships is the biggest competition staged by the World Bridge Federation. It is held every four years, in the even-numbered non-leap years. The Championships comprise tournaments for pairs and teams in various categories (open, women, seniors, mixed). This great Championship is open to bridge players from all over the world, and there are no restrictive quotas. All events are open to transnational entries.

The 2006 World Championships gave participants a unique opportunity to mix with and perhaps play against the greatest players in the world while at the same time enjoying all the delights of the great city of Verona.

 • The Past

The World Bridge Championships came into being in 1962, under the name of World Pair Olympiad which comprised the World Open Pairs Championship, the World Women Pairs Championships, as well as the World Mixed Teams Championship. Pierre Jais and Roger Trézel of France were the first Open Pairs champions, while in the Women event, Rixi Markus and Fritzi Gordon from Great Britain prevailed.

The second event, held in 1966 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, had a new competition added to the programme: the World Mixed Pairs Championship. The same programme applied to the third event, organized in 1970 in Stockholm, and the fourth one held in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, in 1974.

An important change took place in the 1978 Championships, held in New Orleans, USA, which saw the inauguration of the World Knockout Teams for the Rosenblum Cup, named in honour of the former WBF president who had died five months earlier. First holders of the Cup were Poland. A similar competition for women, the McConnell Trophy, was added in 1994 and won by the United States.

Accordingly, the 12th edition of the Pairs Championship and the 8th edition of the Teams will be played this year in Verona.

For a complete list of the previous events, their venues and winners, click here.
To see the reigning champions, click here to go to the 2002 World Championships site.

Organization website

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