Spring NABC: Vanderbilt trophy, weaty palms and upsets!

Kay Platinum

A premier tournament in this New-Orleans Nationals is the Vanderbilt trophy. Named after Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, a famous businessman and the creator of the modern contract bridge rules, this knock-out tournament imposes a ton of stress on the nerves of bridge players. Thus, upsets happen often and winning it requires a great deal of concentration during the whole competition.

During the process, upsets seemed like they could become a regular occurrence. Almost no top ten seeded team made it through 3 rounds. The two favorites, ROSENTHAL and ZIMMERMANN got eliminated in the second round. LEBOWITZ (3), who looked like they could make it far, had to kibitz* every game after getting knocked-out in their first encounter with MALLISTER (30).

*kibitz: In bridge or chess, watching a game with comments.

280 pairs, 140 tables, 560 players amazing

The final matchup

Starting on the sixth seed, team WOLFSON (Jeffrey WolfsonSteve Garner from Chicago IL, Zia MahmoodDavid Gold from London, Brad Moss from Denver CO, Joe Grue from New York NY) had to make it through five rounds to face ninth seed BERNAL (Francisco Bernal from Miami FL, Leonardo CImaAlfredo Versace from Roma, Giorgio Duboin from Torino, Michael Kamil from San Antonio TX, Antonio Sementa from Parma). BERNAL, who was missing a player due to illness, never really saw the light during their game. By going down 5 to 41 in the first quarter, they dug themselves into a hole which they couldn’t get themselves out of.

After winning it in 2019, WOLFSON has now secured a second Vanderbilt trophy. With Michael Kamil, who played against WOLFSON in the final, was part of this title winning line-up 4 years ago but has now lost against his former team-mates.

Paul Cuneo, Executive Director of the American Contract Bridge League gifted them the trophy after the ceremony on the evening of the final.

Vanderbilt trophy
From left to right: Joe Grue, David Gold, Zia Mahmood, Steve Garner, Paul Cuneo and Brad Moss

Archive for the week of 13 March

Kay Platinum’s narrow ending

First weekend in Louisiana, and we already have the first medal for fellow Frenchman Irene Baroni. With Ola Rimstedt from Sweden, the pair managed to keep the excitement up to the last second. A razor-thin margin between the first place and the second place of 0.02 matchtpoint was enough to keep Vincent Demuy and John Hurd above everyone else in the competition.

This is the second victory for John, who already won the Kay Platinum Pairs in 2011 with Joel Wooldridge. The two Americans started off very strong and kept a good lead until the end where Baroni and Rimstedt came back from the middle of the field to almost steal the first place. Sitting 17th in the leaderboards on Sunday morning, the European pair managed to eat up a deficit of 47 points and gave the future winners a lot to worry about.

John Hurd and Vincent Demuy
John Hurd (left) and Vincent Demuy (right)

Another French competitor managed to place himself in the top 10. Thomas Bessis, who teamed up with Marion Michielsen from Sweden, got placed seventh out of 132 pairs registered. The Frenchman won gold in 2015 and was the runner-up three times in the last decade. Unfortunately, Irene Baroni and Thomas Bessis were the only French players who managed to make it through the second day.

Following her great performance, Irene Baroni will not take part in the Vanderbilt tournament that starts off today. Instead, she will be supporting her fellow comrades who haven’t been able to shine yet. Thus, Cédric Lorenzini and Thomas Bessis are joining a team of Americans whereas Muriel Clément, Pascale Thuillez, Vanessa Réess, Laurent Thuillez and Paula Nataf (from California) are forming a team of almost exclusively French players to compete in this prestigious tournament.

Video review of the competition – Jérôme Rombaut

Jérôme Rombaut speaks in French, so be sure to display the subtitles by pressing the white rectangle at the bottom right once the video has started.

Photos of the event

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