SEE YOU AT THE MonteCarloCountry Club FOR THE TOURNAMENT
OCTOBER 30th AND 31st !!!
Bridge … a sport like no other, a sport of the mind.
As such it is one of the sports associated with the Olympic Games. It can be practiced at all levels in competition or as a leisure activity.
The French National Education system offers it from the age of 7 (Le Petit Bridge) up to university level.
The World Championships attract the best, limited to an elite of a few thousand professional players.
On a daily basis, all players compete in tournaments: 80,000 players affiliated to the French Bridge Federation (FFB) in France, over 100 million worldwide.
In Monaco, 150 players compete via the web and in person three times a week.
The organising Committee of the Côte d’Azur brings together 42 bridge clubs and oversees the organisation of several renowned bridge events.
Among others, the Bridge Festival in Juan les Pins and the Citron (Lemon) Tournament in Menton.
Blocked by the pandemic for the last two years, these not-to-be-missed events will resume in 2022.
We asked Liliane, widow of the last president of the Committee, Mr Jean-Pierre Dannay, for a memory that could help us relive the atmosphere of these great events:
“I remember very well the festive atmosphere that surrounded all the events and especially the Bridge Festival of Juan les Pins but also the ability of the organisers to overcome all the obstacles. You have to know that during the Festival almost 1.000 players participate and once!
Just half an hour before the beginning a bus arrived with 50 Dutch players who asked to register for the Tournament.
Faced with this unforeseen event, with remarkable aplomb, the referee Patrick Challard managed to open an extra room at the Casino where, in good time, he was able to set up the necessary tables to play an Open with 50 more players!
Liliane continues “Remember: with Bridge you will never be lost anywhere in the world. As soon as you arrive in a city, whether New York or Roquebrune Cap Martin, Sassari or Dublin, you just have to go to a Bridge club and you will no longer feel alone, supported by the solidarity that surrounds the game of Bridge. For this reason, we must remember the motto of the FFB: “Be a ray of sunshine in your club, reach out to newcomers!”
…and we can add: don’t discourage them!
If it is true that Bridge is now a sporting discipline, it is also true that it is practised by sportsmen, as many tennis and golf players are Bridge players.
Moreover, several Bridge clubs have their headquarters in a Tennis Club and several Bridge trips are organised next to Golf Clubs, at very affordable prices, in order to permit one to practise both sporting activities!!
The organisation of Bridge in Monaco is a tradition that goes back to the 1950s. The big international tournaments took place in the salons of the Société Bains de Mer (SBM) with Mr Barthelemy Gastaldi, Mimi for friends.
Daily tournaments took place under the refereeing of Michel Guglielmi and Jacques Balleret, in the salons of the Maison de l’Amérique Latine, the Hotel Hermitage or the Monte-Carlo Country Club (the mythical tennis club renowned for its tournaments, notably the famous Rolex Master).
In 1963, the Monegasque Bridge Federation was created under the historic presidency of Dr. Pierre Crovetto, who remained in charge until 2008.
Mr. Jean-Charles Allavena took over and organised the biggest international tournaments in Monaco: the Cavendish and the European Winter Games.
The Principality of Monaco was World Champion with its team of professionals sponsored by Mr Pierre Zimmermann.
Since 2018, the presidency of the Monegasque Bridge Federation has been held by Mr Gilbert Vivaldi and the refereeing by Tanguy Le Gall.
Efforts are focused on the organisation of regular tournaments and on the bridge school, which prepares around twenty adult players for tournaments. A bridge school was opened in Monaco at “La Casa d’i Soci”, the House of Associations. Nicole and Charles Maurice are in charge of the reception…bidding box in hand!
In 2019, just before the pandemic, a team from Monaco (Thitou Nguyen Lafitte-Paolo Varon, Flavia Tealdo-Marco Scanavino) won third place in Paris at the Interclubs Division 3 Championship. On this occasion they proudly wore T-shirts with the Monaco logo!
We asked Gilbert Vivaldi what feeling you get when you see your team win?
“First of all, it’s the pleasure to see the joy of the players. It is also the pleasure of seeing your city, for us your Country, on the highest step of the podium.”
In 2020, the Monte Carlo Bridge Club (MCBC) was created by Mrs Liz Wright, assisted by her husband Alec for the tournaments, the cocktails but also …to teach bridge to young people!
After the health crisis, play resumed on Mondays and Fridays in the salons of the MCCC and on Wednesdays in the restaurant of the Société Nautique de Monaco, the mythical Sea Rowing Club, renowned for its sporting results which rank it as the leading club in this speciality.
If you pass by the MCCC or the Société Nautique, don’t be surprised to see people sitting in groups of 4, fascinated by little pieces of cardboard in their hands!
Bridge is fascinating because of the logical aspect of the game, but also because of the conviviality that is triggered after the silence that must be respected at the game table.
Is it greed? Of course, because after so much effort, during the bridge auctions where one applies oneself enormously, one deserves a convivial reward!
Several clubs offer cocktail parties after their bridge tournament!
A very nice habit which allows sharing between players and as the late Patrick Grenthe said:
“Call the referee? No, we’ll settle it over cocktails!”
In Monaco, at the MCBC, we enjoy Liz and Alec Wright’s appetizers, at the Blue Bridge Club Le Cannet, Katia Lormant’s cuisine supports you during bridge marathons, at the mythical club bistrot Bicolore founded by the bridge champion Babette Hugon, a large table is set up at the end of the tournament to share the delicacies brought by the club members!
Amongst others we tasted a marvellous duck au torchon!!!
At the Beaulieu Tennis Club, during the summer season, Anne Marie De Pauw and the referee Jacques Rothier pampered the bridge players by having them play outside in the shade of the trees in the garden well sheltered from the heat after a convivial meal followed, at the end, of course, by a cocktail !!!
During the pandemic, bridge clubs proposed to meet online and play with the RealBridge application but of course, as soon as the health situation permitted, the clubs reopened their doors and bridge players came to play face to face… because nothing quite equals the pleasure of playing face to face!
With this in mind, this summer 2021, the Bicolore de Cagnes sur Mer and Blue Bridge Club Le Cannet, refereed by Xavier Shurer, launched, for the very first time, a challenge at the Beach Pascalin in Golfe Juan: every Tuesday evening at 8pm facing the sea, 72 players and more, during the 14 evenings, locked horns in competition.
Among the tables, the best French national players were present, and they played against each other but also, with a lot of fair play and kindness, against couples having a lower rank.
Soon a tournament will be organised among the bistros of Nice !
In an interview with ASdeTREFLE, Katia Lormant, president of the Blue Bridge Club, revealed her recipe for learning Bridge:
“You have to make people play in tournaments almost immediately. They need to have a minimum level of knowledge of course”, says Katia. “We use game situations to approach the theory. We have the same approach with the young people. We plunge them into the bath of tournaments with a few notions sufficient for them to manage. The aim is to make sure that these newcomers get into the game very quickly…. and that they have fun!!!”
On Sunday October 24th at the Blue Bridge Club, Katia Lormant will be organising a Bridge Marathon with a meal conceived by herself, here are the details to register:
Info for tournaments and Marathon B.B.C.: tel 04.93.46.58.09
On October 30-31st a new challenge will take place in Monaco in the salons of the Monte-Carlo Country Club followed by a cocktail during the prize-giving!
The refereeing will be done by Patrick Challard and Tanguy Le Gal.
A special prize will be offered to the highest ranked overseas pair!!!
Finally bridge always fascinates!
Copyright Ely Galleani