In 2019 the WBF took the decision to launch an annual “World Bridge Tour”, consisting of existing face-to-face international events, culminating in a Tour Final among the top ranked partnerships. Then Covid happened – ending most international face-to-face events, and postponing the launch.
As face-to-face events are gradually being restored, WBF will now finally launch the Tour, starting with a “dry-run” in the 2023 season, to fine-tune the ranking methods and classification of events. It will then go live for the 2024 season.
More detailed information will follow but some key points are:
- The ranking will be of PARTNERSHIPS, not individuals, and a player can be ranked in several partnerships.
- Some events will be pre-qualified by the Tour Organising Committee (such as the Transnationals at World and Zonal Championships and the main events at the NABCs).
- Other event organisers can apply for their event to be included, and such applications are welcome immediately.
- A “sanctioning fee” will be required, depending on the category of the event, to support the costs of the Tour Final. No such fee will be charged for the 2023 “dry-run” season.
- Both Pairs and Teams events will be included.
- Participating events will be divided into 3 categories (similar to Tennis) with different ranking point scales.
- The ranking points are independent of WBF Master Points, but some WMPs will also be awarded in those events.
- The current ranking will be continuously updated and published on the WBF website.
- One or more sponsors will be sought, to allow participants in the Tour Final free room and board as well as some prize money and possibly a travel allowance. No entry fee will be charged.
- The default requirements for an event to be included are:
1. they must be open to all members of a WBF affiliated NBO,
2. they must have a substantial international participation,
3. they must be of minimum 3 days length (or about 150+ boards) and
4. organisers must be able to furnish information on the number of boards or sessions played by a partnership in Team events.
Exceptions can be made at the sole discretion of the committee.
The WBF hopes that the Tour, and its continuously changing ranking, will add interest among the bridge community and assist event organisers in the promotion of their events, by adding the status inherent in being a WBF World Tour event. Awarding WBF Master Points should also be attractive, especially for players not usually being able to play in WBF championships.
Our goal is that the Tour Final should become a truly great promotional event, consisting of the legitimately best performing partnerships of the season.
Jan Kamras WBF President