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Cavendish Invitational

The Cavendish Invitational is the largest money bridge tournament in the world. In 2012 it moved from Las Vegas to Monaco and from May to October. From 1975 to 2011, first in New York City and later in Las Vegas, it ran from Friday to Sunday on Mother's Day weekend.

History and format

The Cavendish Invitational Pairs and its companion competitions are named for the Cavendish Club of New York City, which was founded in 1925, months before Harold S. Vanderbilt and others created the scoring system that defined "contract bridge". Some if its members were also among the most famous names in bridge, including Vanderbilt, Ely Culbertson, Charles Goren, Oswald Jacoby, Howard Schenken, Sam Stayman, Zia Mahmood, Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein. It moved a few times from the Mayfair House to the Ambassador Hotel, thence to the Ritz Tower Hotel and the Carlton House.

The Club initiated its invitational pairs tournament on the second weekend in May 1975 and bridge columnist Alan Truscott called it "the prestigious Cavendish Charity Invitation Pairs" when he covered its conclusion in The New York Times a few days later. Through 1991 the Club hosted the Invitational Pairs annually, alongside a companion invitational tournament for individuals from 1978 to 1981 and one for teams beginning 1983. At midnight on Friday, May 31, 1991, the Cavendish Club went out of business because of increasing rent, decreasing membership, and a lease that may have prohibited a move. The tournament continued to be held in New York City until 1997 when World Bridge Productions took over the Invitational Pairs tournament and moved operations to Las Vegas, an action which greatly increased the visibility and purse size for the event.

The WBP added an Open Pairs event to broaden the field for more players. The Invitational Pairs is an auctioned event where the top pairs are acquired by the highest bidder at a black tie cocktail party a day before the event starts. The auction pool for the Pairs event has recently been running around a million dollars and has been as high as 1.5 million. Each pair must purchase a minimum 10% share in itself and may exercise its right to own as much as 40% of itself or more if permitted by the winner of the bid. At the conclusion of the tournament 95% of the auction pool is distributed in a scaled payout to the bid winners. Each pair plays three boards against all the other pairs with a time limit of 25 minutes per round. Up to 45 rounds are played to decide the winner.

Invitational Pairs

The Invitational Pairs or "the Cavendish" is the main event of the annual tournament. Steve Weinstein is the winner seven times, Bobby Levin five, Fred Stewart and Kit Woolsey three times each.

At least three women have finished second, Jacqui Mitchell in 1979 and Judi Radin-Kathie Wei in 1981.

Year   Winners 2nd place 3rd place Source
1975 James Jacoby, Jeff Westheimer Alberto Calvo, Jeff Hand Matt Granovetter, Ron Rubin  
1976 Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel Jimmy Cayne, Billy Eisenberg Paul Trent, Sandy Trent  
1977 Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel Ronald Blau, Marty Ginsberg Omar Sharif, Leon Yallouze  
1978 Roy Fox, Paul Swanson Michael Rosenberg, Barnet Shenkin Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel  
1979 Ed Manfield, Kit Woolsey Jacqui Mitchell, John Roberts   Juan Manuel Nuñez, Jaime Roitman    
1980 Roger Bates, Dan Mordecai Ed Manfield, Kit Woolsey Phillip Martin, John Lowenthal  
1981 Lou Bluhm, Tom Sanders Judi Radin, Kathie Wei David Berkowitz, Harold Lilie  
1982 Jimmy Cayne, Fred Hamilton Paul Chemla, Robert Reiplinger Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel  
1983 Robert Lipsitz, Neil Silverman David Berkowitz, Harold Lilie Billy Eisenberg, Edwin Kantar  
1984 Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell David Berkowitz, Harold Lilie  
1985 Irving Litvack, Joey Silver Billy Cohen, Ron Smith Bob Blanchard, Drew Casen  
1986   Matt Granovetter, Michael Rosenberg   Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein Harold Rockaway, Bobby Wolff  
1987 Drew Casen, Jim Krekorian Gene Freed, Mike Passell Marc Jacobus, Paul Lewis  
1988 Björn Fallenius, Magnus Lindkvist Harold Rockaway, Bobby Wolff Steve Burgess, Paul Marston  
1989 Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen Ain Otstavel, Hillar Sula Brian Glubok, Michael Radin  
1990 Piotr Gawryś, Eliakim Shaufel   Jón Baldursson, Aðalsteinn Jörgensen   Ron Andersen, David Berkowitz  
1991 Johan Bennet, Anders Wirgren Neil Chambers, John Schermer Russ Ekeblad, Ron Sukoneck  
1992 Amos Kaminski, Sam Lev Piotr Gawryś, Krzysztof Lasocki Neil Chambers, John Schermer  
1993 Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein Ron Gerard, Mike Kamil Mike Albert, Paul Soloway  
1994 Neil Silverman, Kit Woolsey Sam Lev, Bobby Levin Garey Hayden, Gaylor Kasle  
1995 Paul Soloway, Harry Tudor Richard Schwartz, Peter Weichsel Perry Johnson, Jeff Meckstroth  
1996 Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein Neil Chambers, John Schermer Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace  
1997 Michael Seamon, Harry Tudor Andrea Buratti, Massimo Lanzarotti Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace  
1998 Bob Hamman, Nick Nickell Zia Mahmood, Steve Weinstein Fred Gitelman, Brad Moss  
1999 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Curtis Cheek, Billy Miller Billy Cohen, Ron Smith  
2000 Martin Fleisher, Eric Rodwell Steve Garner, Howard Weinstein David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen  
2001 Michał Kwiecień, Jacek Pszczoła Billy Cohen, Ron Smith Björn Fallenius, Roy Welland  
2002 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Walid Elahmady, Tarek Sadek Eric Greco, Geoff Hampson  
2003 Fred Gitelman, Brad Moss Walid Elahmady, Tarek Sadek Ross Grabel, Jon Wittes  
2004 Sam Lev, Jacek Pszczoła Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes Bob Hamman, Zia Mahmood  
2005 Andrea Buratti, Massimo Lanzarotti Cezary Balicki, Adam Żmudziński Pablo Lambardi, Juan Carlos Ventin  
2006 Ton Bakkeren, Huub Bertens Geoff Hampson, Eric Rodwell Gary Cohler, Howard Weinstein  
2007 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Drew Casen, Mike Passell Bruce Rogoff, Louk Verhees  
2008 Geoff Hampson, Eric Rodwell Gary Cohler, Sam Lev Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein  
2009 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Geoff Hampson, Eric Rodwell Roy Welland, Chris Willenken  
2010 Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Tor Helness, Geir Helgemo Josef Piekarek, Alexander Smirnov  
2011 Fred Stewart, Kit Woolsey Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Billy Cohen, Ron Smith  
2012 Ron Schwarz, Lotan Fisher Jean Quantin, Philippe Cronier Zia Mahmood, Agustin Madala  
2013 Ivan Nanev, Rossen Gunev Krzysztof Martens, Dominic Filipowicz Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness  
2014 Krzysztof Buras, Gregorz Narkiewicz Fernando Piedra, Luis Lantaron Massimiliano Di Franco, Arrigo Franchi  

Invitational Individual

In 1978 the Cavendish Club introduced a two-day singles contest which it called the "world individual championship"(1979). Regular partners Harold Lilie and David Berkowitz finished first and second in 1980(1980) and Berkowitz won the fourth and last rendition next year.

Year Winner Runner-up 3rd place Source
1978 Tom Sanders B. Jay Becker Ira Rubin  
1979 Mike Moss John Solodar Mark Cohen  
1980 Harold Lilie David Berkowitz Gail Moss  
1981 David Berkowitz Peter Czerniewski Bobby Levin  

Invitational Teams

The John Roberts Teams is named for World Productions co-founder John Roberts. The field of eight (2011) is filled by invitation only but teams may register to be considered.(2011)

Year Winner 2nd place Source
1983 David Berkowitz, Harold Lilie, John Solodar, Bart Bramley, Rich Friesner Paul Trent, Sandra Trent, Pamela Bridson, Matt Granovetter, Jimmy Rosenbloom, Billy Cohen  
1984 Paul Marston, Steve Burgess, Brian Glubok, Edgar Kaplan, George Berger  ?  
1985 Michael Becker, Ron Rubin, Mike Lawrence, Peter Weichsel, David Berkowitz, Harold Lilie Billy Eisenberg, Kyle Larsen, Ira Rubin, Fred Hamilton  
1986 Matt Granovetter, Michael Rosenberg, Pamela Granovetter, Jimmy Cayne, Zia Mahmood Eddie Wold, Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen and others  
1987 Joel Friedberg, Ethan Stein, Neil Chambers, John Schermer Björn Fallenius, Magnus Lindkvist, Anders Wirgren, Mats Nilsland  
1988 Cliff Russell, Larry T. Cohen, Dan Rotman, Brian Glubok, Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen Jens Auken, Dennis Koch, Akio Kurokawa, Robert Geller  
1989 Tom Smith, Henry Meyer IV, George Tornay, Saul Bronstein, John Solodar, John Roberts  ?  
1990 Paul Marston, Steve Burgess, Kit Woolsey, Ed Manfield Jill Blanchard (captain) and others  
1991 David Birman and others  ?  
1992 Russ Ekeblad, Sheila Ekeblad, Barry Goren, Peter Weichsel Larry N. Cohen, David Berkowitz, Ron Andersen, Tony Forrester  
1993 Edgar Kaplan, Nick Nickell, Debbie Zuckerberg, Michael Rosenberg, Brian Glubok, Matt Granovetter  ?


1994 Rita Shugart, Bobby Goldman, David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen  ?  
1995 Sam Lev, Michael Polowan, Piotr Gawryś, Krzysztof Lasocki Zia Mahmood (captain) and others  
1996 Andrea Buratti, Massimo Lanzarotti, Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace; Carlo Mosca (npc) Marcelo Branco, Gabriel Chagas, Eddie Wold, Mark Lair  
1997 Andrea Buratti, Massimo Lanzarotti, Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace Bob Hamman, Barry Goren, Jeff Meckstroth, Perry Johnson  
1998 Jan van Cleeff, Jan Jansma, Bauke Muller, Wubbo de Boer Jim Mahaffey, Paul Soloway, Gene Freed, Mike Passell, Harry Tudor, Michael Seamon  
1999 Steve Weinstein, Bobby Levin, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby Peter Boyd, Steve Robinson, Kit Woolsey, Fred Stewart  
2000 Perry Johnson, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein, David Berkowitz, Larry N. Cohen  
2001 Roy Welland, Björn Fallenius, Brad Moss, Fred Gitelman, Howard Weinstein, Steve Garner John Onstott, Chris Compton, Jim Robison, Roger Bates, Jon Wittes, Ross Grabel  
2002 Bob Blanchard, Sam Lev, Piotr Gawryś, Krzysztof Jassem Alain Lévy, Hervé Mouiel, Pierre Saporta, Pierre Zimmermann  
2003 Perry Johnson, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco Malcolm Brachman, Mike Passell, Eddie Wold, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes  
2004 Charles Wigoder, Gunnar Hallberg, Michael Cornell, Ryszard Jedrychowski Seymon Deutsch, Paul Soloway, Billy Cohen, Ron Smith, Cezary Balicki, Adam Żmudziński  
2005 Roy Welland, Björn Fallenius, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein two teams  
2006 Wafik Abdou, Connie Goldberg, Steve Landen, Pratap Rajadhyaksha two teams  
2007 Gaylor Kasle, John Diamond, Drew Casen, Jim Krekorian, John Schermer, Neil Chambers Seymon Deutsch, Paul Soloway, Billy Cohen, Ron Smith, Valerio Giubilo, Alfredo Versace  
2008 Lou Ann O'Rourke, Marc Jacobus, Geoff Hampson, Eric Rodwell, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Cornell Teodorescu, Ionut Coldea, Paul Chemla, Michel Lebel  
2009 Jim Mahaffey, Mike Passell, Sam Lev, Jacek Pszczoła, Jack Zhao, Zhong Fu Marc Jacobus, Geoff Hampson, Eric Rodwell, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein; Lou Ann O'Rourke (npc)  
2010 Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Michel Bessis, Thomas Bessis, Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness Kevin Bathurst, Daniel Zagorin, Bart Bramley, Nicolay Demirev  
2011 Lou Ann O’Rourke, Marc Jacobus, Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein Roy Welland, Bart Bramley, Josef Piekarek, Alex Smirnov, Zia Mahmood  

World Bridge Productions Open Pairs

First prize in the open pairs includes free entry to the next Invitational Pairs with options regarding the auction. There is an auction for the WBP pairs, minimum bid $1000.(2011)

Year Winners 2nd place 3rd place Source
1998 Joe Jabon, Billy Miller Nell Cahn, Petra Hamman Lea Dupont, Benito Garozzo  
1999 Rob Crawford, Dan Jacob Dennis Clerkin, Brenda Jacobus Leonard Ernst, Richard Halperin  
2000 Larry T. Cohen, Jill Levin Benito Garozzo, Richard Reisig Petra Hamman, Nancy Passell  
2001 Barry Schaffer, Colby Vernay Ken Kranyak, Keith Wolff Richard Coren, Fred Hamilton  
2002 Barry Schaffer, Colby Vernay Rob Crawford, Dan Jacob George Mittelman, Peter Nagy  
2003 Russell Samuel, Shawn Samuel Leslie Amoils, Darren Wolpert Lynn Baker, Debbie Rosenberg  
2004 Ishmael Del'Monte, David Stern Allan Cokin, Harold Lilie Sheila Ekeblad, Michael Seamon  
2005 Blair Seidler, Kevin Wilson Wafik Abdou, Connie Goldberg Mike Cappelletti Jr., Doug Levene  
2006 Wafik Abdou, Connie Goldberg Fred Hamilton, John Jeffrey Mike Cappelletti Jr., John Morris  
2007 Ira Chorush, Hemant Lall Tom Carmichael, Joel Wooldridge Fred Hamilton, John Jeffrey  
2008 Tom Carmichael, Joel Wooldridge Wojciech Kurkowski, Roger Lord Billy Eisenberg, Connie Goldberg  
2009 Leo Bell, John Jones Wafik Abdou, Gaylor Kasle Leonard Ernst, Fred Hamilton  
2010 Magy Mohan, Miriam Rosenberg Howard Parker, David Siebert Fred Hamilton, John Jeffrey  
2011 Barry Schaffer, Colby Vernay Reese Milner, Matt Granovetter Laurie Kranyak, Frank Treiber