The 51st edition of the European Bridge Team Championships will be held in Citywest Hotel, Dublin, Ireland, from 12 to 23 June 2012. As usual, the Championships comprise three series - for Open, Women and Senior national teams.
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Since the very beginning, the Championships have been played as a single round robin in each series, but in Pau, France, 2008, a new format was introduced: in the Open series, teams were split in two groups and played a round robin qualifier within each group; the top teams then joined in a second round robin qualifier from which the new European Champions emerged. In 2008, each qualifying team met again in the second round robin qualifier with the teams it had met in the qualifying round, but the result of the first match did no longer matter. However, in Ostend 2010, this did not happen. Qualified teams carried over to the second round robin qualifier the entire result of each of their qualifying matches, and these matches were not played again. Accordingly, the duration of the Championships was reduced by three days, allowing it to start on Tuesday instead of the usual Saturday. This was judged to be a successful format, and it is the one which will be applied in Dublin.
Originally held in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, in 1932, the European Bridge Team Championships became the principal competition organized by the European Bridge League for teams representing its member countries. It started as a single series competition for open teams, but in 1935, a women teams series was added. The senior series became part of the competition much later, in 1995. Since 2002, the European Team Championships are held on every even-numbered year.
The first European champions, back in 1932, were Austria, who also won the first women event in 1935. The first senior champions, Poland, were declared 30 years later. All in all, Italy has won most gold medals in the open series (20 against France's 8 and England's 7), while England and France prevail in the women (with 13 gold medals each; Denmark following with 6), and France and Poland head the seniors (with 3 gold medals each).
• For a list of former winners, go to Competitions/Championships and choose European Team Championships.