2020 Canadian Bridge Championships (CBC) and the Canbri achievement awards

By Keith Balcombe Whitby ON

In the spring of 2020, the Canadian Bridge Federation (CBF) decided to change its Face-to-Face 2020 Canadian Championships scheduled for May 2020 in Niagara Falls to an online competition. That BBO championship resulted in the largest ever number of teams ever (70), even though the CBF could not run any of the Flight B or C teams. There were four categories: Open, Women, Senior and Mixed teams. The online CBC began on BBO in early June and was a marathon until October.

The 2020 Canadian Bridge Championships Medalists


Gold: Kai Zhou, Xin Guo Chen, Lu Gan, Alex Hong, Sidney Yang (Vancouver BC)
Silver: Don Kersey (Kingston ON), William Koski, John Duquette (Oshawa ON), Ron Bishop, Nicholas and Judith Gartaganis (Calgary AB)
Bronze: Nader Hanna & John Rayner (Toronto), Martin Kirr; John Carruthers (Kingsville ON); Paul Thurston (Wellington ON); Keith Balcombe (Whitby ON)
Bronze: Ranald Davidson, Marc-André Fourcaudot, Kismet Fung, Michael Gamble, Bruce Zhu, Danny Miles


Gold: Pamela Nisbet (Dunedin ON), Brenda Bryant (Ferndale MI), Julie Smith, (Vancouver BC) Judy Harris (Salmon Arm BC)..
Silver: Sondra Blank (L’Ile Bizard QC), Hazel Wolpert & Lesley Thomson (North York ON), Linda Wynston (Toronto ON), Sylvia Summers (Ridgway, PA), Barbara Saltsman (Montreal QC).
Bronze: Albena Vassileva (North Bay ON), Olivia Laufer & Cindy He (Toronto ON), Jasmine Xiong (Markham ON).
Bronze: Joan Eaton (North York ON), Karen Cumpstone (Nanaimo BC), Katie Thorpe (Kingsville ON), Ina Demme (Maple ON).


Gold: Kamel Fergani & Zygmunt Marcinski (Montreal QC), Gordon Campbell & Nicholas Gartaganis (Calgary AB).
Silver: Arno Hobart (deceased), George Mittelman (Thornhill ON), Boris Baran (Cote-Saint-Luc QC), Pierre Daigneault (Montreal QC), Drew Cannell (Ste Lazare QC).
Bronze: Dan Jacob & Gord McOrmond (Vancouver BC), Jurek Czyzowicz (Gatineau QC), Robert Lebi (Toronto ON), Michael Hargreaves (Victoria BC); Piotr Klimowicz (Edmonton AB).
Bronze: Bob Todd, Doug Fisher & Neil Kimelman (Winnipeg MB); Paul Thurston (Wellington ON).


Gold: Eiji Kujirai (North York ON), Barbara Clinton (Aurora ON), Francine Asselin Cimon & Marc-André Fourcaudot (Montreal QC), Kamel Fergani & Louise Berthiaume (Terrebonne QC).
Silver: Wendy Krause & Arnold Krause (Markham ON), Julie Berdock & Mike Kenny (Aurora ON).
Bronze: Andy Stark (Toronto ON), Katie Thorpe (Kingsville ON), Ina Demme & Bill Kertes (Nobleton ON), Roisin O’Hara & Paul O’Hara (Oakville ON).
Bronze: David Willis (Ottawa, ON), Pamela Nisbet (Dunedin ON), Jeff Blond (Brossard QC), Brenda Bryant (Ferndale MI).

Some interesting tidbits from these championships

  • Kamel Fergani (Montréal) won two events (Mixed and Seniors); he now has 9 championship wins.
  • Francine Cimon (Montréal) won her 17th Canadian Championship event.
  • Nick Gartaganis (Calgary) is now a 7-time winner and an 8 time runner-up.
  • Sadly, CSTC team captain Arno Hobart passed away unexpectedly during the championships.
  • Danny Miles started Bridge Night in Canada broadcasts for the playoffs of the Open and Seniors’ events.
    You can view on YouTube on the Canadian Bridge Federation channel.
  • The CBF started the CBC Achievement Awards for the best played, best defended and best bid hands.
  • The CMTC (mixed teams) favorite to win, full of Canadian champions, lost by a lone IMP in the quarter finals.
  • The CNTC champions were all first-time winners, victorious in all their playoff matches by wide margins.
  • The CSTC (seniors) winner was decided by a slam swing on the third last hand after a see-saw final quarter.

Here is the key hand in the aforementioned CSTC Final:

Key hand in the CSTC Final

Fergani and Marcinski bid the good slam, but Baran and Daigneault only made a mild slam try. BARAN’S 5 IMP lead became FERGANI’S 6 IMP lead, the final margin.  The Bridge Night in Canada broadcast included an interview the winners – just like on its hockey namesake. Kamel Fergani stated something like “I drove to slam because I thought our opponents would bid it”. Such was the margin of victory.




Canadian Bridge Championships Achievement Awards

The CBF created the Canbri awards. The “volunteer” selection panel determined from the player submissions the best played handbest defended hand and best bid hand during the online 2020 CBC.

The selection panel was: Francine Asselin Cimon (Montréal QC), Aidan Ballantine (Vancouver BC) and yours truly.

There were 15 submissions from all over our fine country, and, in a Canadian way, five submissions from each category with winners from three provinces.

The best played hand

Winner Gordon Campbell 3NT CSTC Round Robin
Runner-up George Mittelman 5 CSTC Final


The best defended hand

Winner Zygmunt Marcinski-Kamel Fergani 4 CSTC Final
Runner-up Neil Kimelman-Paul Thurston 3NT CSTC Round Robin


The best bid hand

Winner Alex Hong-Sydney Yang 7 CNTC Round Robin
Runner-up Gordon Campbell-Nick Gartaganis 3NT CSTC Semi-Final


The best played hand – Winner

Gordon Campbell
CSTC Round Robin – 3NTLead 4
South opened 1NT (11-13) and responded 2♠ to Stayman

♠ A75
♥ AJ8
♦ 6532
♣ K63


♠ KJ43
♥ Q95

My thanks to Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis (Calgary) for their descriptions about the hand used in my account.

Although the two hands have a combined 25 hcp, there is a lot of work to be done as the starting trick total is only 4. Gordon played low on the initial  lead. East played the Q and returned the 10. West covered with the J and Gordon won the King. Gordon’s next play was the 2 from dummy and East played the K. Gordon cashed the Q and was relieved to see East follow with the 7. Declarer’s trick count was up to eight (now four diamonds tricks, two spades, one heart and one club already in).

Without any information, declarer’s best option for a ninth trick is to combine chances by cashing the two top spades hoping the Queen comes down and fall back on the finesse for the K. This assumes clubs are 5-3 and that the opponents can defeat your contract when they get in. Another possibility is to hope clubs are 4-4 and finesse for the K.

Gordon did neither! He put the opponents on lead by leading back their suit, clubs. After carefully watching the discards, he correctly deduced that the K was offside (with East) and that East has discarded down to two spades. At the end (trick 12), West started with only two spades, thus the doubleton ♠Q. Beautifully done.

Here is the full hand:

Best played - W

Trick # Lead Ohers
# 5  winner J, 10, 3, 3 from E (encour.)
# 6  winner E & W both pitched hearts
# 7 ♠ to Ace
# 8  throw in 3 from dummy, won by W
# 9 W:A ♠ discard by the other 3 hands
# 10 W:J N: 8, E: ♠6, S: Q
# 11  from W Won by A in dummy
# 12 ♠ from N ♠K by declarer, dropping ♠Q.

The best played hand – Runner-up

George Mittelman
CSTC Final – 5.
North Opening lead:
♠2 (3rd & 5th best).

BTW, trumps are 4-0.
See how George (mittmouse) succeeded.

Note: 2 bid – Both majors.

Trick # Lead Others In
# 1 N: ♠2 ♠A  ♠3  ♠7 1
# 2 E:4 3  A  3 2
# 3 W:5 2  10  6 3
# 4 E: 4 Q  7  3
# 5 S: ♠J 7  ♠5  ♠K 4
# 6 E: ♠8 ♠4  Q  ♠9 5
# 7 W: 9 6  K  ♠10 6
# 8 E: J 8  2  8 7
# 9 E: 7 5  4  ♠Q 8
# 10 E: 8 9  J  10 9
# 11 W:A 9  5  K 10
# 12 W: 6 11

The best defended hand – Winner


Zygmunt Marcinski – Kamel Fergani
CSTC Final – 4
The defense was:
South (fergani) on lead
Trick 1: ♠A, 4, 2 (U-D Att.) 9
Trick 2: A, 2, 10 (suit pref.), 6
Trick 3: ♠7, J, Q, 10
Trick 4: 5, 4, 8, 7
4 tricks – Down one, win 13 IMPs

The best defended hand – Runner-up


Neil Kimelman – Paul Thurston
CSTC Round Robin – 3NT.
West (NDK) on lead
Trick 1:  J, 2, 4, 9
Trick 2:  10, 3, ♠2, 8
4 more diamonds and ♠A for 7 tricks.
Result: +150, win 11 IMPs

The best bid hand – Winner


Alex Hong-Sydney Yang
CNTC Round Robin – 7♠.
Strong NT
Jacoby Transfer (system on over 2)
Super accept
Exclusion RKC ( void)
Conclusion: Wow!

The best bid hand – Runner-up

Gordon Campbell-Nick Gartaganis
CSTC Semi-final – 3NT.
Takeout Double
Second Takeout Double
Encouraging 3 (strong hand)
Conclusion: A different Wow!

We hope and expect that there will be 2021 Canbri awards.

Bridge Night in Canada Twitch broadcasts are expected to continue. Information will be posted on the site when matches are scheduled.