History of the Bermuda Bowl



Included are two pictures of the Bermuda Bowl, a coveted trophy. A short description of the development of the tournament follows, which is the description of the ACBL.

The first postwar world contract bridge team championship was played in Bermuda in 1950 on the initiative of Mr. Norman M. Bach. The contest was a three-cornered match among teams representing the United States, Great Britain (the European champion), and Europe (a combined Sweden-Iceland team).

The next six Bermuda Bowl contests were two-team events between the United States and the winners of the European Championships.

In 1958, the contest became a three-cornered event with the inclusion of the South American champions.

In 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972, which were Team Olympiad years, there was no Bermuda Bowl competition. In 1974 the WORLD BRIDGE FEDERATION voted to conduct the Bermuda Bowl in odd-number years only. To provide a transition, the Bermuda Bowl and the World Team Olympiad were played consecutively in Monte Carlo in 1976.

Starting in 1961, the defending champion was invited to compete. This practice was discontinued after the 1977 Bermuda Bowl, when two teams from the United States met in the final. One was the team that qualified through the Trials method, the other was the defending champion. The Executive Council of the WBF decided it was not good for two teams from the same zone to compete in the final.

From 1950 to 1963 inclusive, the Bermuda Bowl was organized under the auspices of the ACBL and the EBL, with the collaboration of the South American Bridge Confederation starting in 1958. Since 1963, the Bermuda Bowl has been conducted by the WBF. In 1965 the WBF voted to expand the event to a five-team contest by including the Far East champions, who became eligible for the first time in 1966. The Bermuda Bowl became a six-sided affair for the first time in 1971 when Australia exercised its right to represent the South Pacific Zone. The Central American-Caribbean Zone was represented for the first time in the 1979 championship. And the Bridge Federation of Asia and the Middle East fielded a representative in the Bermuda Bowl for the first time in 1981. The European Zone was allotted a second spot in the competition in 1981.

The pattern for Bermuda Bowl competition was changed radically, starting with the 1983 competition. The winners of the North American Team Trials and the European champions advanced automatically to the semifinals. The North American runner-up and the second place European team also qualified for Bermuda Bowl play, but they had to take part in a round-robin with the winners of the other zones to determine the other two semifinalists. Also eligible to play in the round-robin were the victors from South America, Far East, Central America-Caribbean, Australia-New Zealand and Asia Middle East. In addition, the host country has the right to enter a team if that country has not already qualified as a Zonal representative.



In order to insure that two teams from the same Zone do not meet in the final, the WBF stipulated that if two teams from the same Zone reach the semifinals, they must oppose each other in a semifinal.

The WBF also decided in 1981 that future Bermuda Bowls, starting in 1985, would not be held in either Europe or North America. World Team Olympiads and World Pair Championships would be held in even years in either North America or Europe, while Bermuda Bowls would be held elsewhere in odd years.

The pattern changed again in Yokohama, Japan, in 1991. The number of teams was enlarged to permit the inclusion of four teams from Europe, three from North America, one from the South Pacific, two from all other zones plus one from the host country. The policy of exempting one European team and one North American team from the qualifying stage was abandoned, as was the restriction which required the final to be between two teams from different zones. However, a final between two teams from the same country was not permitted, a restriction affecting only ACBL. Teams were in two qualifying groups, with four from each advancing to quarterfinal playoffs.


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