Tournament Director at the 47th
European Bridge Championships
those of you who don't know I'm a certified international bridge judge
(or tournament director as it's called in bridge.) I enjoy the work very
much and look forward to the competitions. I have judged at a number of
international championships. (see
This year the European Teams Championships were at Malmo,
in Sweden.For the most part the facilities for the Championships this year
were very good, with spacious areas. The big drawback as far as the officials
were concerned was that our hotel was far from the venue. There was supposed
to be a shuttle, but it didn't work too well and the hours were inconvenient.
The bus option involved two buses and taxis are expensive. So I rented
a bike. It was so old and broken down that they didn't take a deposit for
it - in fact they didn't even ask my name. I paid €30 for the two
weeks and they told me to return it when I'm finished. I was given a simple
lock but I don't think anyone outside of Beer Sheva would ever dream of
stealing it. No gears of course, large shopping basket on the front, and
foot brakes only. The first time going on the slight downhill I sort of
subconsciously pedalled backwards and nearly went flying over the handlebars.
Anyhow it was a bike, and it took 15-20 minutes to ride from the hotel
to the bridge venue. There were 8 of us with bikes and after the games
we hit the town, all biking together to some restaurant or other. Biking
was easy, no hills and many cycle paths or streets reserved for buses,taxis
and bikes.The downside was that it rained nearly every day, but a good
raincoat and waterproof trousers more or less took care of that.
It was quite an experience being in Sweden over Midsummer night - the
longest day of the year. At 10:30 at night we could still read by the light
of the sun and the sky was light until well after 11. Then at about 3am
the sun comes up again, with light streaming through the windows. There
was a special carnival with maypoles etc to celebrate Midsummer Day and
it was an "off" day from bridge. It was raining so hard that we decided
to go to Copenhagen instead.(30 minutes by train.) We cycled to the train
station, left our bikes in good company, and went to Copenhagen, where
it also rained all day. No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit
to the mermaid, and we duly trudged there in the rain.A lousy lunch and
a mediocre supper rounded out a not very successful day.
The championships took place at the same time as the European Football
Cup in Lisbon. Most nights we watched the football matches, with vociferous
supporters all around us. The countries playing in the football were well
represented among the directors, and we were careful to go easy with a
director whose country had just lost a crucial match. Our favorite venue
was Lille Torg, the "little square" which was conveniently situated about
halfway between the bridge and the hotel, and which had a large variety
of restaurants with large screen TVs to watch the matches. We ate Indian,
Chinese, Greek, Italian, American, French, Thai but the food was not very
good and expensive. Our best meals were an excellent traditional Swedish
Smorgasbord, and (most surprisingly) the meal given in our honor (together
with tradition Swedish guards) by the Malmo Municipality.
Bridge-wise everything was fine, no special problems. Physically the
work was not exacting, but the hours were long. We had some interesting
rulings to make, and I made a note of them for the next directors' study
day in Israel. All of the directors know each other (3 of them were from
the last certification course in Italy where I was an instructor), and
get on very well together. We always consult on the more difficult points,
and the standard of the judging was very high. In bridge, where many of
the rulings are based on judgement, there is an appeal procedure, and the
fact that there were fewer appeals at these championships than at any other
is, among other factors, a measure of the competence of the tournament
directors. Here I am discussing some tricky point with Jan boets of Belgium,
and with Maurizio di Saccho of Italy.
Israel's results were in the middle. The Women's team were the most
successful. They started off slowly but recovered well and with a late
spurt finished 5th (out of 26) to qualify to be one of Europe's five representatives
at the next world championships. The open team consisted of young, inexperienced
players and not much was expected of them. They played very well, and for
much of the tournament hovered around 8-10 place (out of 34) which was
a very pleasant surprise. They faltered a little towards the end and ended
up a very creditable 13th place. The big disappointment was the Seniors
team. The players are well experienced internationals and individually
excellent bridge players. We had thought they would be serious contenders
for a medal but they finished 9th (out of 16) at the halfway stage and
didn't qualify for the 8 team final A. Although they won final B handily
this was not much compensation as we had expected better from them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time in Malmo, and even a delay of 6 hours
at the airport on the trip back, and a lost suitcase (later found opened
and torn) couldn't detract from the experience.
There are two more Malmo pictures in the "This Week's Picture" archives.
My next major tournament is at Brighton in England in August, where
I will be the chief director of the Seniors pairs and teams competitions.
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