May 25, 2024


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Bridger Joris van Lankveld: One card difference and we won’t win the European Championship

Bridger Joris van Lankveld: One card difference and we won't win the European Championship

“I’m in the US six to eight times a year. This is where the important tournaments are played and where the most money can be won. Bridge doesn’t work with prize money, it’s a sport widely played by the rich. In America, they hire the best players To participate in tournaments.

“We have many sponsors. This sponsor is also involved, so we often end up with a little less than usual. It’s nice to meet successful people. Last year I played against Bill Gates. It doesn’t surprise me anymore, I’ve met many billionaires so far .

“The average age of bridge players is over seventy years old, but the top of the world is very young. I started playing bridge when I was 17, and I have been playing with my partner Berend van den Bos since 2009. After we became world youth champions in 2011, We went to America to network, which is very important in the bridge world. You have to show up to be asked. After two tournaments we found a sponsor.

“I never wanted to go professional. Bridge was a hobby for me, and if you make it your profession, you start looking at it differently. Then there will be more pressure. After studying business administration, I start working at ING in the mortgage department. I’ve put together these The job was with bridge, but it wasn’t sustainable I was busy seven days a week, making more money playing bridge than I made in the bank.

“After a year I decided to just play bridge – a good choice. I still really like it, it’s a great mental sport. And we earn enough, it’s no problem if it goes a little lower. It’s hard to integrate bridge with my family life. We have a 1-year-old 16 months and another baby on the way.So much is up to my wife, who also works, and my family.

“In bridge it’s important to build a partnership. You have to be on the same page. Berend and I have a system book that contains our agreements. This book is two to three hundred pages thick. Bridge is a very emotional sport, it’s a game of fouls. On match day, you have to Making a few hundred decisions, forty or fifty of which are wrong. Even if you make a good decision, a right one 70 percent of the time, it can still turn out to be wrong. You have to be able to handle that, even in a partnership setting. For example, it doesn’t help to delve into what just happened during the game, which is really a pitfall for bridge players.It is best to analyze the next day.

“This year we got the silver medal with Holland at the Bermuda Bowl World Championships. It was a great tournament for the whole team. The final against Switzerland was very exciting. If we had done one game better we would have won. It still looks like we have to win. When We won gold at the European Championships a few weeks later, I thought: can’t it be the other way around? I think I’m going to hate it all my life. Although silver is also a world achievement.

Bridger Joris Van Lankveld.
Photo: Pepijn Kouwenberg

“Netherlands have never been European champions. In the European Championship we played against all countries, in a total of 29 matches. We were with the same three pairs as in the World Cup, two pairs were always in a row. We had a big lead with four games left. However It seemed like things were going completely wrong for a while.First we lost to Israel, then we lost big to Switzerland.

“Those Swiss again. Or a fake Swiss I should say. In addition to the Polish couple, the billionaire also acquired a Dutch couple. He pays them a high salary and buys them a house to spend half the year in Switzerland. I can’t blame them, we are professionals, but it goes a long way. The Dutch Bridge Association has invested a lot of time and money into this pair. We finally won the European Championship at the right time. One card difference and we wouldn’t have made it.

“If you do well in international tournaments, that means you get more money in America. It’s been a good year in that regard. Our sponsor gave us a raise of his own, something like that, non-negotiable. Well, if you get a sponsor contract New. They are often closed verbally in the bar.”