Venice Cup is a world championship contract bridge tournament for national teams of women. It is a biennial event that is contested every odds-number year, just like the d’Orsi Bowl (the senior’s championship for teams) and the Bermuda Bowl (the open championship for teams). All these three championships fall under the auspices of the World Bridge Federation (WBF).
The Venice Cup premieered in 1974. The first event was held in Venice, Italy hence the name Venice Cup. The trophy was donated by Italy. Back in 1974, the Venice Cup contest consisted of one long match between two teams. It wasn’t until 1985 that the Venice Cup became concurrent with the Bermuda Bowl.
The teams participating in the Venice Cup represent WBF zones and nations. The contest is therefore also known as the World Zonal Women Team Championship. (The Bermuda Bowl is the World Zonal Open Team Championship, and the d’Orsi Bowl is the World Zonal Senior Team Championship.)
Contest structure for the Venice Cup
Throughout the course of seven days, every Venice Cup team plays round-robin matches of 16 deals. On average, three matches is played per day (a total of 21 matches is finished during the seven day period).
International Match Points (IMP) are used and IMP margins are converted into Victory Points (VP).
- Winning a match gives the team 25 points.
- Losing a match gives the team 0 points.
- A tie between the two teams means that each of them get 15 points.
Once the round-robin stage described above has been carried out, it is time for long knockout matches, with 96 deals in two days.
History and background
Long before the existence of the World Bridge Federation, the 1937 International Bridge League Championship took place in Budapest, Hungary – with one contest for open teams and another one for female teams. The 1937 International Bridge League Championship is generally seen as the predecessor of both the Bermuda Bowl (open championship) and the Venice Cup (women’s championship), since it was the first truly international bridge team championship where not only European teams participated. The 1937 International Bridge League Championship for women’s team was won by the Austrian team. This team consisted of Rixi (Erika) Scharfstein, Gertie Brunner, Gertie Schlesinger, Marianne Boschan, Ethel Ernst, and Elizabeth Klauber.
In the period 1960 – 1972, four Olympiad tournaments for women took place. They were won by the United Arab Republic, Great Britain, Sweden, and Italy, respectively.
Venice Cup Winners
The most prolific winner of the Venice Cup during the 1970 – 2013 period is USA, with eleven wins. In that same period, the Venice Cup has always been won by a European nation or the United States, except for the 2009 Venice Cup in Brazil which was won by China’s team.
In the first two Venice Cup events, only the United States + one team from Europe participated. It wasn’t until the third Venice Cup that the event became open to teams from every WBF geographic zone.
Results for the Venice Cup 1974 – 2013
|Year||Place||Winning nation||Runner-up nation|
|1976||Monte Carlo, Monaco||USA||Great Britain|
|1978||New Orleans, USA||USA||Italy|
|1981||New York City, USA||Great Britain||USA|
|1985*||São Paulo, Brazil||Great Britain||USA|
|1987||Ocho Rios, Jamaica||USA||France|
|2003||Monte Carlo, Monaco||USA||China|
|2009||São Paulo, Brazil||China||USA|
*The fifth Venice Cup was played in 1985 instead of 1983, to make it co-joined with the Bermuda Bowl.
** The 34th Venice Cup was played in early 2000 (January 7 – 21) instead of late 1999.