IntoBridge at NABC Chicago

In July, the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) hosted its Summer North American Bridge Championships (commonly referred to as the Nationals) in Chicago, Illinois, from the 13th to the 23rd of July. At the event venue, IntoBridge was proudly presented to spread the word about the new online platform for playing bridge.

The Nationals are the largest gathering of bridge players in the world. While the ACBL has the largest membership of all federations globally, Europe has more combined players (more than double). However, the ACBL attracts more participants due to the common masterpoints system across America since it is the governing body for the US, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. Therefore, many participants play in capped events, where they can compete with players who have a similar masterpoint count and have a real chance to win their event.

In contrast, the Nationals attract the best players from around the world due to the involvement of many bridge sponsors aiming to strengthen their teams. These events are often based on a stronger field than the World and Zonal Championships that are supposed to be the strongest events globally.

There are three Nationals every year: Spring (in March), Summer (in July), and Fall (in late November/early December), which are hosted in different cities across the US and sometimes in Canada. The Spring National was held in New Orleans (Louisiana), and the Fall National will be held in Atlanta (Georgia).

The Nationals run for eleven days, and several events are open to anyone, while others are limited to players with a capped masterpoint count. The top events usually have minimum requirements to enter, such as a certain amount of Platinum points or being a Life Master.

The top pairs event in the Summer Nationals is the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs, which is played over three days. The big events at the Nationals work on a survival basis, and about half of the field gets eliminated and drops out of the competition after each day. The top half continues with a partial carryover, so only about a quarter of the field makes it to the final day. Typically, most of the participants on that day are either National or World champions or anything in between, usually multiple times. Therefore, it’s heaven for competitive bridge players.

This year, 304 pairs started the competition, and the top three finishers were close, only seven matchpoints between the gold and the bronze medals. The Swede Ola Rimstedt came out on top partnering with the one and only Zia. Agustin Madala from Argentina partnered with Alon Birman from Israel and came in second, while Dutch Luc Tijssen partnered with American Steven Ashe and won the bronze medal.

The primary teams competition during the Summer Nationals is the Spingold KO Teams. It’s played over seven long days of bridge (60 boards every day). The first day is a qualification to narrow the field down to 64 teams, which then play daily knockout matches, with the winner advancing to the next day. 80 teams participated in the competition this year. The Fleisher team won, beating team Bremark by only 14 IMPs (147-133). The winning Fleisher team members were Marty Fleisher and Chip Martel (USA), Thomas Bessis and Cedric Lorenzini (France), Antonio Sementa and Alfredo Versace (Italy). Leif Bremark, Fredrik Nystrom, Johan Upmark, Frederic Wrang, and Simon Hult (all from Sweden), and Antonio Palma (Portugal) constituted team Bremark.

At the Nationals, IntoBridge had its booth near the playing area. It was a great opportunity to meet players who already play on IntoBridge and convince many more to register new accounts. IntoBridge also had its bridge team playing in various competitions. Although we lost in the round of 64 to the runners-up Bremark in the Spingold, we almost made it to the third day of the prestigious Roth Swiss Teams. Promoting IntoBridge was a good thing as we were twice as happy losing because our opponents were suddenly much more interested in IntoBridge!

Please enjoy the pictures from NABC Chicago below, and we hope to see you at the forthcoming National in Atlanta between the 23rd of November and the 3rd of December this year!

For pictures from the National in Chicago, click HERE.

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