Judy Kay-Wolff

A CHANGE OF VENUE

Although I liked what I saw of Holland (not that much), it was warm and friendly and the people were gracious. However, there was lots of walking between sites, daily routines of early breakfast, 16 boards, early lunch, sixteen boards, a nosh before the next 16 boards and finally dinner in the hotel as we were too tired to take a cab or bus to a different cuisine site – was too exhausting!!!  The schedule was of necessity, but it took its toll on most.  Many of the non-bridge playing spouses (and several had rented cars) did sightseeing and shopping, while I preferred to return to my room to blog, watch my beloved BBO and see Bobby on vu-graph from the confines of my little room.   As I had mentioned before, the site was a resurrected 13th century monastery for nuns and was converted to a weekend conference center (tiny rooms and little storage space) – hardly conducive or appropriate for 19 days.   My room looked like a rummage shop with clothes atop the suitcases as the tiny closet wouldn’t cut it. 

As the end neared, I counted the days to the luxury of relaxing in Las Vegas (after the laundry chores) but found the ITTC (International Team Trials Committee) was back in business.   They are in the midst of a brouhaha hell-bent on every year having two teams selected from the Team Trials for the world championship  and very much against every fourth year — one team trial and one pair trial  to give the unattached (non professional) talented duos an opportunity to enter on their own.  As in most ACBL projects they are lacking in progressive, individual leadership and the animals continue to run the zoo.   Professionalism has turned the game around while the other countries in the world are gaining on us in success.

Not one of the six U.S. TEAMS (BERMUDA BOWL, VENICE CUP or SENIORS) (each containing at least one sponsor) won a gold medal.  The other nations keep picking up momentum on us and on occasion outplay us convincingly.   Our only consolation was all six made the initial cut but no championship for the U.S.  Both silver medalists (Bermuda USA 2 and Senior USA 2) lost in the final – the first convincingly and the latter by a smidgeon.  Incidentally, although sponsored, the Senior USA 2 had three excellent pairs – proving that sponsorship is no way an inappropriate name.

The green stuff (usually five pros and a well-endowed sponsor) lead the way.  The pros are unyielding in giving up an additional lucrative date.  My reference to the animals and the zoo can be better explained … if you ask the lions and the tigers what’s on the menu, they ravenously say ’meat” – while if the kangaroos, giraffes or ostriches were consulted they may select some tasty, harmless foliage. 

It is also of interest that in WBF championships, a sponsor need play only 37-1/2% of the match (not the expected two-thirds) and in that case, the two expert pairs are overworked and overtired and may not be capable of producing their best effort due to exhaustion in the later determining stages.

Perhaps it might be a nice change of pace, every fourth year, to allow for a pair and team venture, but I fear the lions and tigers are in control and although some are teetering,  the majority have an unyielding gnash.


11 Comments

RENENovember 5th, 2011 at 5:41 am

It sounds like a gruelling trip. Why do they select such a far-out place — not easily accessible to air service. Organizers seem to lose sight of the inconvenience to people all over the world who are not a hop, skip or jump from the site.

Today airports are a nightmare.

The secrurity, going through the lines and the ‘pat down’ and frisking seem to be getting worse. That, added to the length of the trip (I would imagine close to four hours to O’Hare and then another eight hours to Brussels (plus customs) — not overlooking the hour and a half ride to the hotel is just too much to bear — at least at our ages.

I have always thought the best place for such an event is a major airport hotel or motel where into one which you can fly directly. Sometimes the organizers in their zeal for the perfect site overlook the inconvenience (especialy of the oldtimers) and the wear and tear on their bodies.

Judy Kay-WollfNovember 5th, 2011 at 5:55 am

Rene:

You got that one right.

It is very difficult to find a convenient site that meets all the qualifications for the game itself. Perhaps it was Holland’s turn to host a WBF affair and difficult to locate a building that will suit all needs. This one was perfect for the organizers — tons of office space, huge areas of playing rooms, a “plaza” for congregating and eating sandwiches and having drinks and surrounded on both sides by novelty “bridge’ booths that sold everything from soup to nuts. It was a lovely meeting place and certainly not available at other sites. The corridors were never ending and I ended up renting a scooter as I could not negotiaite the trip six times a day. Maybe it was o.k. for spring chickens but I vacated that category many years ago.

My main complaint was that it was not near a major airport — (a healthy train trip from either Brussels which was slightly closer to Veldhoven and a bit longer from Amsterdam).

However, falling in the inconvenience category was the one in Sturbridge, Mass. It was a Trials and many flew in from the West Coast only to find the nearest airport was Hartford (one hour) or Logan (an hour and a half). I don’ t think it is fair to select sights so out of kilter for bridge lovers, but maybe I am just getting old.

Stll, the best location are airport sites. How can that be argued. Most fly not drive.

I’ve still got jet lag and it is almost a week since we’ve returned.

BurtNovember 5th, 2011 at 6:03 am

Tell me about the closing ceremonies? Orderly? Long?

Short?

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 5th, 2011 at 6:13 am

The closing ceremony’s best part was that the official speeches were short and few in number. However, since there were four events (Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup, Seniors plus the Transnationals) and three in every group, everyone was called to the podium and it appeared endless. The groups were summoned at the same time and the number of people receiving medals appeared endlesss. Had they called them one group at a time and presented them with their chains, taken their bow, it may not have taken over an hour. I have been to closing affairs but this was seemed to be never ending. At least this time, we didn’t have any “We did not vote for Bush signs. Shocked it wasn’s replaced by “Obama.” Only kiddin’ That is officially outlawed.

The evening concluded with a sumptuous buffet — probably the best I can remember.

Everyone seemed to enjoy pigging out from appetizer to dessert. A lovely closing to a long trip.

Bobby WolffNovember 5th, 2011 at 6:15 am

Hi Rene,

While you are unquestionably on target in about everything you question and say, especially for geezers like us, there are unfortunately other factors which more than creep into the choice.

The eventual site needs to have significantly more than average convention space and spread out in such a manner to accommodate card table room (used to be close to 100 sq. ft. per table and the facility to support undeniable security as well). Also several rooms to serve as view-graphs for many different matches conducted simultaneously with acoustics to match.

Add to that a number of restaurants available which at least attempt to satisfy various world culinary tastes and not unreasonably priced. It used to be a rule of thumb that only Europe and North America had the convention center space to hold the larger tournaments each held once every four years of both the World Olympic Teams and the World Bridge Championships which allow transnational partnerships to play together while reserving the usual smaller Bermuda Bowl years (every other) to be held in what we call developing countries. However with the 3rd world catching up on larger sites, perhaps that requirement will (and has) become somewhat relaxed.

Also please understand that the WBF is also interested in rewarding bridge favored nations (which have developed or at least beginning to, bridge in the primary and secondary school systems, which, in turn will keep bridge an important factor in the development of young people’s logical minds).

You, in your important comments, have also hit upon other necessary and important factors which undoubtedly need to be considered, but all in all, the planning for a World Bridge Tournament is never to be underestimated and our volunteers world wide, who participate in such an experience, are worth more than gold to the WBF, even considering the astronomical current price of it.

Thank you, Rene, for broaching a subject which needs to be explained, if for nothing else, but to acquaint bridge players with at least some of the problems involved in applying to host a WBF event.

CPNovember 5th, 2011 at 6:24 am

Never heard a word about the windmills or tulips? What gives?

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 5th, 2011 at 6:33 am

CP:

Big disappointment. No windmill and not a tullip. Wrong area and wrong season. I doubt if I’ll ever have another chance, so my childhood memories will have to suffice. What did impress me so much was the mannerisms of the Dutch people — warm, and friendly. Their hospitality desk would stop at nothing to accommodate their guests — and went far and beyond. It is a lovely country. Sorry we had no time to do any sightseeing although many players came in through Amsterdam and stayed a few days to enjoy the famous landmarks.. I know many saw Van Gogh’s world famous site and The Hague — among others. Unfortunately, I spent most off my time in the hallways on my motor scooter or watching the live matches on BBO. Each to his own.

JodyNovember 6th, 2011 at 11:19 am

I loved hearing about your trip. Almost 50 years ago I taught school for the military, special education, in Germany, and we often went to Holland on the weekends, or Belgium, and stayed in the tiny quarters you described. At that age, tho, I thot it all a lark!

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 6th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Jody:

Believe it or not, we had a deluxe room. Someone dropped off something and when they stuck their nose in the door, they shreiked “this is huge. Mine is half the size — only one single bed.” Hard to believe there can be smaller quarters. I was getting claustrophobia at the end and I am far from a prima donna.

Judy

Hanneke GrufmanNovember 9th, 2011 at 1:26 am

hi Judy, Nice to hear that you arrived back home safe and sound. It was a pleasure to meet you and Bobby. Am happy that we have been able to provide assistance wherever we could. I have returned to my work, selling stainless steel pipe and fittings. Quite a big change after such a nice time during the Championships. We will certainly volunteer for Bali in 2013, but doubtful whether there is room for us 🙂

Take care,

Love from Holland – the sun is still shining!! temp. approx. 14 degr. C

Hanneke

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 9th, 2011 at 6:13 am

Dear Hanneke:

How flattering! Bali would be shooting themselves in the foot if they did not include at least some of Holland’s experienced volunteers to be there. It is no easy job and takes knowledge, charm and patience. Good luck. Your group was the greatest!

Judy

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