The prestigious North American championships (NABC), which were held in Chicago from the 13th to 23rd July 2023, were marked by fierce competition and some moments of grace. Amongst the many memorable moments, Marty Harris’ team (Bob Marheine, Mark Kinzer, Miriam Harris-Botzum), the “locals”, won the Mini-Spingold Knockout Teams brilliantly, by defeating Marc Sylvester’s team with a final score of 126 to 67.
From the start of the match, Marty Harris’ team took the reins, carving out a comfortable lead of 67 to 22 at half-time. Despite Marc Sylvester’s efforts, which reduced the gap to 8 IMPs by the end of the third quarter, he was left behind completely in the last set.
This crushing victory marked Marty Harris’ fifth title in a “restricted” national event, a remarkable achievement for this talented player who had already won this competition twice, as well as the Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs and the Bean Red Ribbon Pairs.
Kinzer and Marheine’s partnership dates from 1977, while the brother and sister Harrises have played together regularly since 2018, even though their first collaboration at a bridge table goes back to 1972 when they were… six years old!
The father-son duo
The championships were also the stage for other remarkable performances; notably, in the Bean Red Ribbon Pairs event. Brandon Ge, age 16, originally from Cupertino in California, and his father Xin Ge shone in the second session of the final to take first place.
They successfully qualified in 12th place during the opening round on the Friday; then, they displayed some excellent percentages that put them out of reach (57.12% then 63.96%), finishing way ahead of Steve Overholt and Sudhir Patwardhan of Toronto, previous winners of the Red Ribbon Pairs in 2017.
Brandon Ge, who had been selected to represent the USA in the 2020 Junior World Championships as a member of the USA2 team, unfortunately saw the event cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the same, he had already made an impression by winning the “0-1500 Online Pairs” championship in 2021.
The French get gold!
The Summer Nationals is also the major event that includes the highly coveted Spingold. And two Frenchmen in particular distinguished themselves in that: Thomas Bessis and Cédric Lorenzini, as they pulled off the achievement of winning the event! They beat Zimmerman’s line-up of multiple world champions on the way; then, in the final, that of Leif Bermak.
The teammates of those under our tricolour were none other than the illustrious American champions Marty Fleisher and Chip Martel (this was already the latter’s fourth title!) and the Italian campionissimos Antonio Sementa and Alfredo Versace. The cup was presented to them by the energetic Bronia Jenkins, executive director of the ACBL.
The Chicago NABC of 2023 will remain in memory like an excellent vintage. Enthusiasts are impatiently awaiting the next big dates where new pages of the bridge history books will be written. Safe journey back to all the participants and see you again for more adventures!
See You in the Windy City!
News of 30 June 2023
Located in the most north-eastern part of Illinois, Chicago will host the Summer NABC (North American Bridge Championships) organised by the ACBL (American Contract Bridge League). On 13-23 July all eyes will be on the Windy City where the bridge community will gather to follow bridge games starring top players.
After Louisiana in spring, the 2023 NABC will stop in Chicago this summer and the ACBL has chosen two of its mythical hotels as venues: Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk and Magnificent Mile. Hall of Fame induction ceremony, seminars and fierce competition… The biggest bridge event on the other side of the Atlantic promises a rich programme again!
On top of tournaments and ceremonies, the ACBL will offer introductory bridge lessons for new players in the first days of the event. Outside bridge, many activities will be made available to participants to discover the city. There will be bus tours on 18-20 July to get around the city while being sheltered from the wind.
“My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)” as Sinatra used to sing!
Chicago is a bustling city. With some of the US’s greatest sports franchises, all Chicagoans have a keen interest in sport. The Bulls in basketball, the White Sox in baseball, the Bears in American football and the Blackhawks in ice hockey won more than 20 national titles between them. Their playing records make it one of the most multi-sport cities of the country. Take a detour to the stadium!
The metropolis is also known for its famous Loop – a train that takes you through the city –, green walks at the heart of the Millennium Park where you will find the iconic silver Bean and dinners on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chicago is meant to become bridge players’ kind of town too.
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