2015 October 19th and 20th
Cavendish Open Pairs
Cavendish Ladies Pairs
2015 October 21st, 22nd and 23rd
How should we call you? Jacek or Pepsi? What do you like best?
Pepsi is fine and I like it, only few friends in bridge world call me Jacek.
What are the best results you achieved in your bridge career?
I think the best was winning World Pair Championschip in Lille 1998, which I think is the most difficoult to win.
You won the Cavendish in the United States: the Teams in 2009 and the Pairs in 2001 and 2004. Please tell us something about these victories.
Those victories in Cavendish in Las Vegas were proof that in bridge You should never give up, after 1st session I was at the bottom of the field but still was 4 more to come :)
One more thing I like about it is that I won with 2 different partners: Michal Kwiecien and Sam Lev.
You have played the Cavendish in Monaco since its first edition, in 2012. In Monaco, you got your best result with Michal Kwiecien in 2013 (fourth place). Which was your deepest feeling at that time: the satisfaction for being in the very first places or the disappointment for missing the podium?
Of course the feeling when You won is the BEST, when I finished 4th in Monte Carlo the last hand I played against Helgemo-Helness they made small slam agaist me when most of the pairs went down, if Helness would went down I would win, that how everything was close.
You attendend the Cavendish in the United States and in Monaco. Has the event changed when moved from USA to Monaco? In which way?
Since I started playing in Cavendish 2000 I played in all tournaments.
Two biggest changes between Vegas and Monte Carlo are: changing format dividing field into two finals before final session and missing USA players, when tournament was held in Vegas lots of Europeans were coming. We should find a way to encourage American players to paricipate in Monte Carlo Cavendish.
Who will you partner this year?
This Year I play with Charles Wigoder from London.
How do you feel about the very next edition of the Cavendish? What are your expectations?
My attitude in bridge is I'm always trying to win.
Have you ever been a "buyer" during the auction? Was this profitable for you?
I only bought mayself back and that worked well for me :)
Polish players have often reached great results in the Cavendish (both in the open and ladies pairs) and of course not only in this tournament. Which is "the Polish factor"? In other words: what makes Polish players so good?
I think Polish players are very lucky because they have talent to this game, the 2nd factor is we have lots of players with great success, then we have somebody we can learn from.
You changed your life by moving from Poland to the United States to play bridge. When and how did you take this decision? Was this a tough decision to take? What do you miss about Poland?
The main reason moving to USA was idea that playing in USA would help me improve my game.
Do you have any suggestion for young players who wish to become bridge professionals?
I personally read all the bridge books and that would be my tip for young players :).
Which are the three best bridge pairs in the world?
For me : Mecstroth-Rodwell, Levin-Weinstain, Lauria-Versace, Helgemo-Helness.
What is your most important bridge-related dream?
Winning Bridge Olimpiad :) in Poland.
Antonio Sementa, ranked 22nd in WBF ranking, winner of two World Teams Championships, an Individual World title, two European Teams Championships and many European Champions' Cups, will play with Mustafa Cem Tokay, the winner of the Copenhagen invitational festival and of the Vilnius Cup just few weeks ago.
Jessica Hayman loves bridge, Monaco and the Cavendish and she will attend the 2015 edition. The Cavendish Ladies has been created thanks to her initiative.
How long have you been playing bridge? How did you start playing?
I have been playing bridge for 19 years, seriously for 9 years. My mom is a bridge teacher and I worked one summer at the bridge club, that was when I started.
How many tournaments do you attend every year? Which are your favorite ones and why?
I attend all the Nationals, and try to attend any other major tournaments happening. I always go to Madeira because it is really fun and beautiful. Sometimes I will also go to another festival although I prefer strong bridge to holidays.
For now my favorite is still Madeira, it's become a tradition.
Do you prefer Women or Open events? Why?
I prefer open events. The bridge is much stronger and generally (there are exceptions) the opponents are more pleasant.
What do you think about the Cavendish Ladies?
I think the Ladies Cavendish is a great opportunity for women to come experience the event. A chance that was not always there.
As an American what do you think about the transfer of the Cavendish from the United States to Monaco?
I never played the cavendish when it was in Vegas. It was by invitation only and my first invite was in its last year, and unfortunately I had to turn it down.
I prefer the ambience of Monte Carlo to Vegas so I am glad about the switch, despite the extra flying hours. There are many many strong Europeans playing who did not play when it was in Vegas which is nice, however, there has also been some diluting of the field as there are a significant amount of weak players allowed to play it now. I see advantages and disadvantages to this.
Among the editions of the Cavendish you attended in Monaco, which is your favorite one and why?
The first edition was my favorite. The first is always special , and I was playing the open and I was playing with Jacek Kalita...it's hard to have better....
What are your expectations for the next edition? Who will you partner?
I am not sure who I will play with. My new regular partner , Per Ola Cullin, has a full time job and can't play so I am still exploring my options...but I do have a ticket to Nice...I will be there!
Who are your favorite bridge stars?
My favorite bridge star are Peter Bertheau, Jacek Kalita, Alfredo Versace and of course my partner Per Ola Cullin
Who are your favorite bridge partners?
I have been lucky to partner most of my favorite bridge stars, Alfredo Versace I am still waiting!!!!!
Which characteristics must the perfect bridge partner have?
There is no perfect partner. The perfect partnership is one where you respect each others differences, try it get in each other's heads to understand each other's way of thinking and mistakes, and one where there is some sort of friendship away from the table. If having dinner with someone would be painful, I don't want to sit across the bridge table from them.
You have been partner with players from a lot of countries. Besides US, which is the country whose bridge you care most?
The system I play now, is a composite of what I like the very best from everyone I have played with. I really try to incorporate the very best from each great player I have played with. I do think that with regards to system, Sweden is one of the most forward thinking countries. With regards to carding, I only play Polish carding now. Brigitta Fisher (Hungarian junior) once said (she was joking but it's my motto now) "2nd 4th it's a lifestyle." I can't go back :)
Would you like to add any comment about the recent bridge news?
I would like to add one thing about the recent events in the bridge world. Cleaning up the game is a good idea. Reviewing videos and breaking code is very important and well done to the people who did that! However, there is so so so much more to cleaning up bridge. When one plays with teammates where there are long standing multiple known accusations, you enable the cheating to continue. If you chose to play with them without due diligence, you are complicit.