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Venice Cup

The Venice Cup is a biennial world championship contract bridge tournament for national teams of Women. It is contested every odd-number year under the auspices of the World Bridge Federation (WBF), alongside the Bermuda Bowl (Open) and d'Orsi Bowl (Seniors). Entries formally represent WBF Zones as well as nations so it is also known as the "World Zonal Women Team Championship", one of three "World Zonal Team Championships". It was first contested in 1974, as one long match between two teams, and has been concurrent with the Bermuda Bowl from 1985.

Alternatively, the Venice Cup is the trophy awarded to the winning team. It was donated by Italy when Venice hosted the inaugural contest.

The most recent contest took place in September-October 2015 in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The next will take place in 2017 in Lyon, France.

Structure

See a description of the identical "Senior Bowl" structure or a detailed account of the 2011 event (below)

1937 world championships

The 1937 world champion Austria ladies team. Top left, Rixi Scharfstein. Others from left: Marianne Boschan, Gertie Brunner, Ethel Ernst, Elizabeth Klauber, Gertie Schlesinger (seated).

Austria won the first world teams championships in both open and women categories, conducted 1937 in Budapest, Hungary. They were organized by the International Bridge League, essentially the predecessor of both the European Bridge League (est. 1947) and the WBF (1958). World War II practically destroyed the IBL and its nascent world championship tournament series. With Austria the leading nation at the card table, the 1938 Anschluss of Germany and Austria was a great disruption. The leading bridge theorist and mentor, Paul Stern was an outspoken opponent of Nazism who fled to England that year.

Another 1938 refugee from Austria to England, Rixi Markus (born Erika Scharfstein) was a member of both the 1937 champions and the 1976 Great Britain team that was defeated by the United States for the second Venice Cup.

Historical results

China is the only bridge nation outside Europe and the United States to win the Venice Cup. Following its third-place breakthrough in 1991, China finished second in 1997 and 2003, and third in 2007, before winning in 2009.

Every Venice Cup tournament has run alongside the Bermuda Bowl except in 1978, which was not a Bermuda Bowl year. Before 1985, however, the Open tournament was more frequent; from that time they have run together in odd years.

United States teams won the first three championships and they have won 10 of 17 including six as one of two USA teams.

The first two "tournaments" were head-on matches between representatives of North America and Europe, like the Bermuda Bowls of 1951 to 1957. The next two were open to one team from every WBF geographic zone. From 1985 the Venice Cup and Bermuda Bowl have run side-by-side in odd years, expanding together from 10 to 22.

Prior to the inaugural Venice Cup, there had been four Olympiad tournaments for women contested 1960 to 1972. The winners had been United Arab Republic, Great Britain, Sweden, and Italy. (After losing the first Venice Cup tournament in 1974, Italy would defend its Olympiad title in 1976 and lose the third Venice Cup in 1978.) (The United States won the first three Venice Cups 1974/76/78 but did not win any early Olympiad tournament.)

Year, Site, Entries Medalists
1974

May 20-28
Venice, Italy
2 teams

1.  USA
Bette Cohn, Emma Jean Hawes, Dorothy Hayden Truscott, Betty Ann Kennedy, Marietta Passell, Carol Sanders
2. Italy
Marisa Bianchi, Luciana Canessa, Rina Jabès, Maria Antonietta Robaudo, Anna Valenti, Maria Vittoria Venturini  
1976

May 2-8
Monte Carlo, Monaco
2 teams

1. USA
Emma Jean Hawes, Dorothy Hayden Truscott, Betty Ann Kennedy, Jacqui Mitchell, Gail Moss, Carol Sanders
2. Great Britain
Charley Esterson, Nicola Gardener, Fritzi Gordon, Sandra Landy, Rixi Markus, Rita Oldroyd
1978

June 17-30
New Orleans, USA
(separate from Bermuda Bowl) 
5 teams

1. USA
Mary Jane Farell, Emma Jean Hawes, Dorothy Hayden Truscott, Marilyn Johnson, Jacqui Mitchell, Gail Moss
2. Italy
Marisa Bianchi, Luciana Capodanno, Marisa D'Andrea, Enrichetta Gut, Andreina Morini, Anna Valenti
3. Argentina
María Teresa de Díaz, Adriana C. de Martínez de Hoz, Maria Elena Iacapraro, Marta Matienzo, Clara Monsegur
1981

October 19-30
New York City, USA
5 teams

1. Great Britain
Pat Davies, Nicola Gardener, Sandra Landy, Sally Sowter, (Maureen Dennison, Diana Williams)*
2. USA
Nancy Gruver, Edith Kemp, Betty Ann Kennedy, Judi Radin, Carol Sanders, Kathie Wei
3. Brazil
Agota Mandelot, Sylvia Mello, Elisabeth Murtinho, Suzy Powidzer, (Maria Lena Brito, Alice Saad)**
* Dennison-Williams in 1981 did not play enough boards to qualify for the title of World Champion
** Brito-Saad in 1981 did not play enough boards to qualify for third place

The third and fourth Venice Cup tournaments welcomed one team from each WBF geographic zone. On both occasions there were entries from Europe, North America, South America, and South Pacific; they were joined by Asia in 1978, Central America and the Caribbean in 1981. All of the entries were national teams, listed here by zone.

1978: Italy, USA, Argentina, Australia, Philippines
1981: Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Australia, Venezuela

Except for USA ahead of Italy in 1979, those were also the final standings. (Under the same rules, there were six teams in the 1979 Bermuda Bowl tournament because Asia and CAC both participated. A second team from Europe was added in 1981.)

1985

The fifth Venice Cup was not until 1985, when the two tournaments were permanently joined side-by-side in odd years with the same structure (like the Olympiad tournaments established in 1960). Since then, the numbers of teams entered have been identical except once.

For 1985 the champion teams from Europe and North America were granted slots in the 4-team semifinal knockout. One representative from every other zone, the host country team, and second teams from Europe and North America, played round-robin for the other two semifinal slots. As for all three renditions under that format, five other zones participated (not yet Africa) and there were ten teams in the field.

1985 Venice Cup, final standings
  1. Great Britain (Europe 2)
  2. USA 1 (North America 1)
  3. France (Europe 1)
  4. Chinese Taipei (Pacific Asia)
  5. USA 2 (North America 2)
  6. Australia (South Pacific)
  7. Argentina (South America)
  8. Brazil (host country)
  9. Venezuela (Central America & Carib.)
  10. India (Asia & Middle East)
Year, Site, Entries Medalists
1985

Oct 19-Nov 2
São Paulo, Brazil
10 teams

1.  Great Britain
Pat Davies, Sally Horton, Sandra Landy, Nicola Smith, (Michelle Brunner, Gillian Scott-Jones)*
2. USA 1
Betty Ann Kennedy, Jacqui Mitchell, Gail Moss, Judi Radin, Carol Sanders, Kathie Wei
3. France
Danièle Allouche, Véronique Bessis, Ginette Chevalley, Fabienne Pigeaud, Catherine Saul, Sylvie Willard
1987

October 10-24
Ocho Ríos, Jamaica 
10 teams

1. USA 2
Cheri Bjerkan, Juanita Chambers, Lynn Deas, Beth Palmer, Judi Radin, Kathie Wei
2. France
Danièle Allouche, Véronique Bessis, Hélène Bordenave, Ginette Chevalley, Bénédicte Cronier, Sylvie Willard  
3. Italy
Marisa Bianchi, Luciana Capodanno, Marisa D'Andrea, Carla Gianardi, Gabriella Olivieri, Anna Valenti
1989

September 9-23
Perth, Australia
10 teams

1. United States
Kitty Bethe, Lynn Deas, Margie Gwozdzinsky, Karen McCallum, Beth Palmer, Kerri Shuman
2. Netherlands
Carla Arnolds, Ellen Bakker, Ine Gielkens, Elly Schippers, Marijke van der Pas, Bep Vriend
3. Canada
Francine Cimon, Dianna Gordon, Mary Paul, Sharyn Reus, Gloria Silverman, Katie Thorpe
1991

Sep 29-Oct11
Yokohama, Japan
16 teams

1. USA 2
Nell Cahn, Stasha Cohen, Lynn Deas, Sharon Osberg, Nancy Passell, Sue Picus
2. Austria
Gabriele Bamberger, Maria Erhart, Doris Fischer, Terry Weigkricht, (Rosi Spinn, Britta Widengren)***
3. China
GU Ling, LIU Yiqian, SUN Ming, ZHANG Yalan, (SHAOMIN Shi, WANG Liping)**

1991 to date

After 1989, the championship fields were expanded from 10 to 16 teams. European and North American zones were granted four and three slots respectively, without special treatment for any. (The American Contract Bridge League allocated two places to United States teams and one to the winner of a playoff, if necessary.)

1991 Venice Cup participants by zone
Europe: Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Great Britain (1st to 4th in Europe)
North America: USA 1, USA 2, Canada
South America: Argentina, Venezuela
C. America & Carib.: Martinique
Asia & Middle E.: India
Pacific Asia: China, Chinese Taipei, Japan (host)
South Pacific: Australia
Africa: Egypt

All three teams from Pacific Asia advanced to the quarterfinal knockout stage, a very strong performance. China became the first team from outside Europe and the Americas to win a medal.

Through 1993, United States teams won seven and Great Britain two.

Year, Site, Entries Medalists
1993

Aug 29-Sep 11
Santiago, Chile
16 teams

1.  USA 2
Karen McCallum, Jill Meyers, Sharon Osberg, Sue Picus, Kerri Sanborn, Kay Schulle
2. Germany
Daniela von Arnim, Karin Caesar, Marianne Mögel, Pony Nehmert, Waltraud Vogt, Sabine Zenkel
3. Sweden
Lisbeth Åström, Pyttsi Flodqvist, Linda Långström, Catarina Midskog, Bim Ödlund, Mari Ryman
1995

Oct 8-20
Beijing, China
16 teams

1. Germany
Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken, Pony Nehmert, Andrea Rauscheid, (Karin Caesar, Marianne Mögel)*
2. USA 1
Karen McCallum, Kitty Munson, Sue Picus, Rozanne Pollack, Kerri Sanborn, Carol Simon
3. France
Véronique Bessis, Claude Blouquit, Bénédicte Cronier, Catherine D'Ovidio, Colette Lise, Sylvie Willard
1997

Oct 19-Nov 1
Hammamet, Tunisia
18 teams

1. USA 1
Lisa Berkowitz, Mildred Breed, Marinesa Letizia, Jill Meyers, Randi Montin, Tobi Sokolow
2. China
GU Ling, LU Yan, SUN Ming, WANG Wenfei, ZHANG Yalan, ZHANG Yu
3. USA 2
Juanita Chambers, Lynn Deas, Irina Levitina, Beth Palmer, Kerri Sanborn, Kathie Wei
2000

January 7-21
Southampton, Bermuda 
20 teams

1. Netherlands
Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Martine Verbeek, Bep Vriend, Marijke van der Pas, Wietske van Zwol
2. USA 1
Renee Mancuso, Jill Meyers, Randi Montin, Shawn Quinn, Janice Seamon-Molson, Tobi Sokolow
3. Denmark
Trine Bilde Kofoed, Dorte Cilleborg, Bettina Kalkerup, Kirsten Steen Møller, (Mette Drøgemüller, Charlotte Koch-Palmund)**  
2001

Oct 21-Nov 3
Paris, France
18 teams

1. Germany
Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken, Pony Nehmert, Andrea Rauscheid, (Katrin Farwig, Barbara Hackett)*
2. France
Véronique Bessis, Bénédicte Cronier, Catherine D'Ovidio, Sylvie Willard, (Catherine Fishpool, Elisabeth Hugon)***
3. USA 2
Mildred Breed, Petra Hamman, Joan Jackson, Robin Klar, Shawn Quinn, Kay Schulle
2003

November 2-15
Monte Carlo, Monaco
18 teams

1. USA 1
Betty Ann Kennedy, Jill Levin, Sue Picus, Janice Seamon-Molson, Tobi Sokolow, Kathie Wei-Sender
2. China
GU Ling, WANG Hongli, WANG Liping(?), WANG Wenfei, ZHANG Yalan, ZHANG Yu
3. Netherlands
Carla Arnolds, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Bep Vriend, Marijke van der Pas, Wietske van Zwol
2005

Oct 22-Nov 5
Estoril, Portugal
22 teams

1. France
Danièle Allouche-Gaviard, Bénédicte Cronier, Catherine D'Ovidio, Sylvie Willard, (Nathalie Frey, Vanessa Reess)*
2. Germany
Anja Alberti, Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken, Barbara Hackett, Pony Nehmert, Mirja Schraverus-Meuer
3. Netherlands
Carla Arnolds, Femke Hoogweg, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Bep Vriend, Wietske van Zwol
2007

Sep 29-Oct 13
Shanghai, China
22 teams

1. USA 1
Jill Levin, Irina Levitina, Jill Meyers, Hansa Narasimhan, Debbie Rosenberg, JoAnna Stansby
2. Germany
Anja Alberti, Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken, Barbara Hackett, Pony Nehmert, Mirja Schraverus-Meuer
3. China
GU Ling, LIU Yiqian, SUN Ming, WANG Hongli, WANG Wenfei, ZHANG Yalan
2009

Aug 29-Sep 12
São Paulo, Brazil
22 teams

1. China
DONG Yongling, LIU Yiqian, YAN Ru, SUN Ming, WANG Hongli, WANG Wenfei
2. USA 1
Lynn Baker, Lynn Deas, Irina Levitina, Karen McCallum, Beth Palmer, Kerri Sanborn
3. France
Danièle Allouche-Gaviard, Véronique Bessis, Bénédicte Cronier, Catherine D'Ovidio, Elisabeth Hugon, Sylvie Willard  
2011

October 15-29
Veldhoven, Netherlands  
22 teams

1. France
Danièle Allouche-Gaviard, Véronique Bessis, Bénédicte Cronier, Catherine D'Ovidio, Joanna Neve, Sylvie Willard  
2. Indonesia
Lusje Olha BOJOH, Fera DAMAYANTI, Suci Amita DEWI, Kristina Wahyu MURNIATI, - RIANTINI, Julita Grace TUEJE
3. Netherlands
Carla Arnolds, Laura Dekkers, Marion Michielsen, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Bep Vriend
2013

September 17-29
Bali, Indonesia  
22 teams

1. USA 2
Hjördis Eythorsdottir, Jill Levin, Jill Meyers, Janice Seamon-Molson, Jenny Wolpert, Migry Zur-Campanile  
2. England
Sally Brock, Fiona Brown, Heather Dhondy, Nevena Senior, Nicola Smith, Susan Stockdale
3. Netherlands
Carla Arnolds, Marion Michielsen, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Wietske van Zwol, Meike Wortel
* Brunner - Scott-Jones in 1985, Caesar-Mögel in 1995, Farwig-Hackett in 2001, and Frey-Reess in 2005 did not play enough boards to qualify for the title of World Champion
** Shaomin-Wang in 1991, and Drøgemüller - Koch-Palmund in 2000 did not play enough boards to qualify for third place
*** Spinn-Widengren in 1991 and Fishpool-Hugon in 2001 did not play enough boards to qualify for second place

2009

Over 13 days in São Paulo, Brazil, beginning 30 August 2009, China became the first bridge nation outside Europe and North America to win the Venice Cup. Indeed, only China has won any gold, silver, or bronze medal in the tournament (see table, below).

The Chinese victory was decisive, culminating in a 220 to 148 IMP domination of USA1 in the two-day final match. Previously China led the seven-day 21-round-robin (France second) from which eight of 22 teams advanced to the knockout stage, then defeated Sweden 259-182 in the quarterfinal and France 245-221 in the semifinal. The 77-IMP and 72-IMP wins over Sweden and USA1 were the second and third biggest margins in the seven knockout matches.

Bénédicte Cronier-Sylvie Willard of France were the high-scoring players on all 22 teams during the round-robin, playing 15 of 21 matches and scoring 0.93 IMP per board. Hongli Wang-Ming Sun of China were second at 0.81 in 15 matches and their teammate pairs (six players on a "Team-of-four") ranked third and eighth.

2011

France won the 2011 Venice Cup by 196 to 103 IMP in a two-day final match against Indonesia

Indonesia  0 13 24 19 =56 38 9 - 103
France 0+ 46 41 39 =126 32 38 - 196+

France started with one-third IMP carryover from the 16-deal round-robin match, meaning Indonesia must score at least one IMP better on the 96 deals of the final. France scored consistently well during the first three segments, to lead overnight by 126+ to 56, and Indonesia conceded after two of three segments scheduled for the next day.

Notable performances

This is the second Venice Cup for France and the 7th medal in 14 Venice Cup tournaments from 1985 to date, the time of equality with the Bermuda Bowl. Silvie Willard has played for all seven medalists; Véronique Bessis, Bénédicte Cronier, and Catherine D'Ovidio (Saul) six; and Danièle Gaviard (Allouche) five. Following the tournament, D'Ovidio and Willard moved up current ranks one and two among Women Grand Masters and their three frequent teammates moved into the top twelve.

The silver medal for Indonesia represents a sudden arrival among the stronger teams, having placed during the preceding decade no better than 9th (2009), just outside the knockout stage in the current format.

Preliminary

There were 22 national teams in the field, who represented the eight WBF zones as follows. The regular quota for Europe is six teams, seven at Veldhoven because the host country qualifies automatically.

Europe: France, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, England, Poland, Italy - ranks 1 to 7 in the European championship
North America: Canada, USA 1, USA 2
South America: Brazil, Venezuela
Asia & Middle East: India, Jordan
C. America & Carib.: Trinidad & Tobago
Pacific Asia: China, Indonesia, Japan
South Pacific: Australia, New Zealand
Africa: Egypt, Morocco

The first stage was a full round-robin scheduled in advance. Every team played 21 short matches of 16 deals, three daily.

The women of France, Germany, and the Netherlands have been strong teams for about two decades but this year they waged a close fight for the last two slots in the knockout, Netherlands and France surviving with Germany 7 VP short. The two USA teams led the round-robin and selected quarterfinal opponents Indonesia, sixth, and Netherlands, seventh. England placed third and selected Sweden, fifth. That left defending champion China, fourth, to face France, eighth, a rematch of one 2009 semifinal.

In the quarterfinals, Indonesia and Netherlands both overcame 16-IMP carryovers (the maximum achievable head starts) to defeat the Americans by 33 and 28 IMP. England defeated Sweden to be the only preliminary leader who advanced, and France defeated China, 205+ to 197, in the only match that "went to the end". France led by 15+ after five segments and extended the lead to 29+ IMP on the 84th deal (#20), but the champions yielded nothing more and cut the margin to 2+ on the 95th deal. (The leader was known only to spectators, including local and internet commentators and presumably the third pair from each team.) Finally China defeated 3 one trick worth 50 points, while France doubled 4 and beat it two tricks, worth 300 points and a final margin of eight up from two IMP.

In the semifinals, Indonesia outscored England by 18 IMP on 96 deals to overcome 10.5 carryover. France outscored Netherlands by 21 to overcome 0.5 carryover.

While France won the Cup from Indonesia, the host Netherlands overcame 12 IMP carryover to beat England in 48 deals and win the bronze medal, 109 to 91.

So the preliminary eight, seventh, and sixth place teams had finished one, two, three on the victory stand.

2013

USA2 won the 2013 Venice Cup in Bali, Indonesia, defeating England by a score of 229 to 220.3 IMP. The two-day final match of 96 deals was unusually close: the margin, a fraction less than 9 IMP, is frequently exceeded on a single deal; China and France had won the 2009 and 2011 Cups by more than 70 and 90 IMP.

USA2 was the second of two United States entries in the field of 22: namely, Hjordis Eythorsdottir, Jill Levin, Jill Meyers, Janice Seamon-Molson, Jenny Wolpert, Migry Zur-Campanile; Sue Picus npc. England was represented by the same team that won the 2012 World Mind Sports Games: Sally Brock, Fiona Brown, Heather Dhondy, Nevena Senior, Nicola Smith, Susan Stockdale; Jeremy Dhondy npc, David Burn coach.

The Netherlands won another close match for third place, defeating China by 152 to 139. The bronze medalists: Carla Arnolds, Marion Michielsen, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Wietske van Zwol, Meike Wortel; Alex van Reenen npc, Hans Kelder coach.

Jill Meyers now has four Venice Cup wins (after 1993, 1997 and 2007), Levin three (2003, 2007) and Seamon-Molson two (2003). Meyers is the first to win six world titles for women, as Nicola Smith would have been with an England victory. She has won five medals in Venice Cup tournaments, as have the Dutch women Arnolds, Pasman, and Simons.

2015

In 2015 the Venice Cup was held in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. It was won by France, with USA2 taking silver. England beat the Netherlands in the bronze medal play-off.

 

Zones and nations

See the version at "Senior Bowl".

Read more:

World Team Olympiad

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