Bridger Joris van Langveld: 'One card difference and we wouldn't have won the European Championship'

Bridger Joris van Langveld: ‘One card difference and we wouldn’t have won the European Championship’

“I am in America six to eight times a year. This is where important tournaments are played and I can make a lot of money. Bridge does not work with prize money, it is a game widely followed by rich people. In America they recruit the best players to participate in tournaments.

“We have many supporters. Such a sponsor also participates, so we often end up with a little less than normal. Nice to meet the winners. Last year I played against the Billcats. This doesn’t surprise me, I’ve met many billionaires now.

“The average age of bridge players is over seventy, but the top players in the world are much younger. I started playing bridge when I was seventeen and have been playing with my partner, Berend van den Bas, since 2009. After becoming the World Youth Champion in 2011, we went to America on the network, which is bridge. Most important in the world. You have to show up to be heard. After two matches we found a sponsor.

“I didn’t want to be a professional. Bridge was just a hobby for me, and when you make it your career, you start looking at it differently. There’s more pressure. I studied Business Administration and started working in the mortgage department at ING. Connected to bridge, but it wasn’t stable. I was busy seven days a week and made more money playing bridge than in the bank.

“A year later I decided to play bridge – a good choice. I still love it a lot, it’s a wonderful mental game. And we earn enough, it’s no problem if things are a little low. It’s hard to combine playing bridge with my family life. We’re 16. Have a month old baby and a second on the way.My working wife and family have a lot going on.

“It’s important to build a partnership in bridge. You have to be on the same page. Brent and I have a system book with our deals. It’s two to three hundred pages long. Bridge is a pretty emotional game, it’s a game of mistakes. On a match day you have to make a few hundred decisions, Forty or fifty will turn out to be wrong. Even if you make a good decision, even if it is 70 percent correct, it will still go wrong. Even within a partnership you can deal with that. For example, it does not help what happened during the game. This is really a danger for bridge players. Analyzing the next day. good

“This year at the Bermuda Cup, we won silver with the Netherlands at the World Championships. The match went well, to the whole team. The final against Switzerland was very exciting. If we had played a better game we would have won. I still feel like we should have won. When we won gold at the European Championships a few weeks later, I thought: Couldn’t it have been the other way around? I’m going to hate it for the rest of my life, I think. Silver is also a world record.

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Bridger Joris van Longveldt.
Photo by Pepijn Kouwenberg

“Netherlands have never been European champions. We played a total of 29 matches against all countries in the European Championship. We were with the same three pairs as in the World Cup, two pairs always lined up. We have four more games to go. And after a while it seemed to go completely wrong. First we lost to Israel and then we lost very heavily to Switzerland.

“That Swiss again. Or should I say fake Swiss. Besides a Polish pair, a billionaire has also bought a Dutch pair. He paid them a higher salary and bought them a house so that they could 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 in the pair. Last time we won the European Championship. One card difference and we wouldn’t have done it.

“If you do well in international tournaments, it means you get paid more in America. It’s been a good year in that respect. Our sponsor has given us a raise at his own discretion, something like that is non-negotiable. Well, if you close a deal with a new sponsor. They are often closed verbally at the bar.

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