After two weeks of hard-fought battles, the world champions were finally crowned as the 42nd World Bridge Teams Championships sponsored by HCL, came to a close here at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai on Saturday.
In the Bermuda Bowl, Poland, who finished third in the group stages, beat Sweden in only the third all-European final in the competition’s history, while USA2 claimed the bronze medal after beating England.
The Venice Cup, which saw plenty of surprises and upsets throughout the knockout stages was won by France, who beat USA2 in the final while England took home the bronze medal after a comfortable victory over the Netherlands.
If the other two tournaments, were all about twists, turns and surprises, the d’Orsi Trophy was a little more cut and dry as USA1 conquered all before them and were crowned champions after beating Sweden in the final. Poland beat the other USA side to claim bronze.
The 10th Transnational Open was won by Zimmermann, who beat Bulgaria Open in the final, while YBM secured the bronze medal by beating Askgaard.
After narrowly beating England to secure their final berth, Poland made history as they overcame a strong Sweden side to claim their first Bermuda Bowl.
With the Venice Cup and d’Orsi Trophy already done and dusted, the final day’s action was all about the final of the Bermuda Bowl. And what a frenetic final it was. The lead changed hands at least four times, excitement was fever-pitch and the tension was mounting, but Poland managed to hold their nerve to beat Sweden 307.5-293.
Much like the men’s tournament, the final of the women’s section was another tightly-contested affair as France registered their third Venice Cup triumph (after 2005 and 2011) with a 179.7- 171 win over USA2.
Going into the penultimate day with a slender lead, the French women were pushed to the limit by the American side, who were chasing their fifth title, but it wasn’t to be as France, who qualified in eighth place overcame all odds to win the title.
Unlike the other two tournaments, the senior’s final was very much a one-sided affair as the star-studded American side, which included legends such as Bob Hamman and Zia Mahmood, comfortably brushed aside Sweden to win 263-126.3.
The side, who were in pole position after winning group stage, breezed through the competition on their way to their sixth d’Orsi title.
While the tournament was a huge success, both in terms of participation and spectators, it was one to remember for the Indian teams, as none of them made it through to the knockout stages of the competition.
Although no Indian team had gone past the quarter-final stage, the hosts came into the tournament riding a wave of optimism. But it wasn’t to be, as they failed to hold their nerve in crucial moments, which eventually cost them dear.
India’s senior’s team came the closest of the bunch as they went into the final day of the group stages with an outside chance of going through, but failed to take advantage and ended up finishing 11th.
The men’s team finished 12th in the Bermuda Bowl, whereas it was a tournament to forget for the women, who finished rock-bottom and accumulated the second-lowest points of any team across all three tournaments at the end of the group stage.
Despite not having the greatest of tournaments, the hosts can be very pleased with how they went about organising their first-ever World Championships, which drew plenty of praise from all quarters.
“The tournament itself, the organisation and the facilities here have been terrific,” said David Burn, coach of the England’s bronze medal winning women’s team. “I have been to a lot of these World Championships and this has been one of the best, if not the best, in terms of organisation and hospitality.”
The 15-day long tournament that began on September 26th and concluded on Sunday, saw 66 teams and over 600 participants from 35 countries take part.
Usually a sport that doesn’t draw a huge number of spectators, the occasion of the first-ever World Championships in India, saw plenty walk through the doors of ITC Grand Chola, and being thoroughly entertained, and credit has to be given to the organisers and the sponsors HCL for ensuring everything was top-notch.