Philippe Cronier

1953 -

Record for this person by World Bridge Federation


Benedicte + Philippe Cronier

Philippe Cronier

Philippe Cronier

Philippe Cronier


Source: www.lesgogosbridgeurs.com


Thank you Dany - Hello Philippe Cronier (pseudo Phicro on BBO) and to grant this maintenance to me.
You are one of the best French players, you belong to the team of Open France, you have a role near the European Federation of Bridge, you are Responsable for teaching and of the unit of research near the University of the Bridge and you have many activities related to the Bridge.
Is it indiscreet to ask you your age and your birthplace?

PC - I will be soon 53 years old, I was born in Ermont, a city of the Parisian suburbs, in the Valley of Oise precisely.

Dany - can you tell us your course?

PC - Nothing very original! I made studies of engineer statistician, I started to work with INSEE, and I quickly stopped to play full-time bridge. I met my Bénédicte wife with the tournament of Baule, it was not 18 years old. When our first child was born, it was necessary to transform what was until there only one passion in means of earning money… I started to give some courses and to play sponsored. I was likely to meet people who helped me at this time much there, particularly Michel Zadouroff, who offered to me to deal with the bridge with the club Omar Sharif, and Gilles Cohen, who made me work with him with the federation. I then started to write - polys, articles and even a book! With Gilles, we created the first training courses of bridge within the framework of the University of the Bridge. Then, with some friends (Michel Bessis, Nicolas Déchelette, Alain Lévy and Philippe Poizat) we created the training courses Top Bridge with the Arcs, in 1984. Twenty-two years later, they always exist!
Another important turning of my professional life occurred when Gilles Cohen - still him - created a newspaper of plays (To play asset) in 1992. This newspaper had various satellites, including one devoted to the bridge, Jouer Bridge. I assumed the drafting in chief of it. To play asset stopped quickly, but the principal writers To play Bridge joined to take again the title. In spite of some misadventures related to the tumultuous life of a newspaper, Jouer Bridge always appears, and I am always the rédac' chief.
Parallel to my occupation of professor and journalist of bridge, I always practised the bridge of competition. My voyage to Warsaw in next August will constitute my fifth appearance in team of Open France. The first date of 1983 and constitutes my best memory, since with Michel Corn, and associated Lebel-Perron and Mouiel-Swarc, we gained the championship of Europe by four in Wiesbaden. A performance that unfortunately no French team was able to republish since. During my (long!) career, I played with the majority of the best French players. Inter alia Michel Lebel, Philippe Soulet, Nicolas Déchelette and, last goal not least, Paul Chemla. I must acknowledge that I owe them much, having always been likely to play with people whom I thought stronger than me!

Dany - When and how you began with the Bridge?

PC - I discovered the bridge in my grandparents, who played with friends each Saturday. As of the ten years age, I started to look at. One year later, the fourth envisaged was countermanded at the last time and, in front of the distress general, I proposed my services… I continued to play from time to time during my adolescence, until I meet of the bridge players more informed much than me in Sup Maths. Among them, there was Michel Bessis! It is them which initiated me with the life of the clubs and the bridge of competition.

Dany - the Bridge has--it, as of the beginning, summer a great passion and did you think of reaching this level?

PC - I will answer the second question initially. Nobody, except which gallops megalomania or characterized unconsciousness (I have names…) cannot seriously imagine to become a champion in a discipline where it begins. For the players of my generation, who are numerous to be trained in the large Parisian clubs (Montaigne, Albarran, BCP) this claim was all the more perilous as we côtoyions daily of authentic champions and that those did not fail to show all way to us which remained us to be achieved. An anecdote to illustrate this last point: whereas we were only one year old of federal licence, Michel Bessis had already discovered the way of the BCP and there proposes to me to go to make a turn. I listen to it and finds me later some time with the door of the 68, boulevard of Courcelles, a splendid apartment opposite the Monceau park. A man sat in the corridor - I will learn later that it is about Domenica Poubeau. It challenges me: “you wish? ” “One that you organize duplicates…”” You are which classification said to me? ” “I am 3rd Pique series, but…” “Ah! Eh well, return to see us when you will be first series! ”.

I cannot say that the bridge has me of entry of impassioned play. Kid, I liked to play all card decks, the bridge seemed to me a intellectual challenge, in little as the maths which represented at the time the essence of my activity. It is then that I came from there not to think more but of the bridge, initially because I there found or found people very sympathetic nerves - of which, at the time, much, really much of people of my age - then because I was really taken of passion for the competition. Always with the BCP, which meanwhile had become my house (! ) the aforementioned competition was daily: the duplicates were organized with two captains who chose, on the list of the registered voters, the players who were going to compose their team. If you had made a blow of 13 the day before, you tremble not to be chosen and to make tapestry! A very hard school, but very formative.

Dany - Which profession did you plan to exert?

PC - As I mentioned it above to you, I worked as statistician with INSEE, which depends on the Ministry for Finances, during nearly three years. I dealt with investigation into the wages in the companies and, my faith, it was rather interesting.

Dany - Your life was, finally, devoted to the Bridge?

PC - Paradoxically, I am a dilettante. Then, yes, I enormously devoted time to the bridge, under all his aspects, but I always kept an interest for many other fields. Politics and economics, the piano, reading… For two years, I have played poker also much on Internet. Without counting that if it had been needed, I would have without hesitating to give up the bridge for my family.

Dany - What is what “makes” a Champion? Which are qualities necessary: ambition, work, gift? These 3 essential qualities, how are they distributed on your premise?

PC - Here is a quite difficult question! I would have a a little different approach. What makes a champion, it is the experiment and the mental one: obstinacy, resistance to the suffering, confidence. It is hard, a championship! To become a good player, which is not the same thing, of course requires a little talent and much work. For my part, to work the bridge cost to me forever, that it is alone, while reading or while reflecting, or with my partners. As for the ambition, it is, there still paradoxically, the “quality” of which I smell myself less provided. The results, the titles, arrive a little all alone, when one is the good day there. How Joe Silver, a Canadian champion says it, through always playing the championships of the world, one ends up gaining one of them!

Dany - Which (S) form (S) of work, of drive, privilege you? Your preferred method? Most effective?
Reading of specialized works, discussions with specialists, play with the table with large players?

PC - I have on this question a very clear idea. Though one thinks about it, the bridge is not a theoretical discipline, but an activity which is played around a table (or on Internet) with other players. One does not involve oneself effectively that while playing with its partner of give and still give. A recent example: we played, Paul Chemla and me, the match of drive against Poland a few days ago (here besides which constitutes an excellent drive). In side, I had 10 9 8 3 in a color or my partner started Ace. To show my account, I provided the 9, a chart which I always provided with all my partners. Eh well, Paul did not include/understand because provides him the 10 in this situation. We have played together for more than four years, we discussed billion things, and undoubtedly also of this one, but the fact of having met the situation with the table finally enabled us to agree. Note well that to be effective, the play must accompany by a joint discussion on the encountered problems. If not, one does not make progress.

Dany - Which councils would you give the initial players who have the will, if not to become Champion of World, but at the very least to acquire a good level?

PC - To progress is conceived for me, you included/understood it, only while playing, with the best possible players and especially against the best possible players. This is why the large Parisian clubs about which I spoke higher were incomparable crucibles.
For as much, to play is not enough. It is necessary to have a sufficient basic technical luggage, which one finds in the books or near the good players, or of the good professors. In this respect, it is not essential to take courses for learning how well to play bridge. But the courses save time! Concerning the books, a a little serious candidate cannot be satisfied with the French literature of bridge. It is necessary to read in English, especially (but not only) for the card deck. Reassure the anglophobes, English of the bridge is very easy to include/understand…
A last word, more original. To make progress with the bridge, it is necessary to think of it. To be posed, with oneself, of the questions about what one did well or badly. To have a personal idea of the play. The others can help you there, but at the end it is you who, the next time, with the table, will have to make a decision. And there, nobody will be there to blow you.

Dany - It is said that the 2sa fitté and 3 its fitté soon will be incorporated in the SEF.
Can you say some to us more on their development?
Which is or which are the advantages of these new conventions?

PC - a new edition of the SEF indeed will appear at the end of June. There are many small modifications (last grinding goes back to 1995) among which the introduction of the fitté 2SA.
The Teaching National Commission, which decides contents of the S.E.F., adopted itself on a very simple definition: the bidding of 2SA is used each time one has what to make a proposal of handle in the major one of opening of the partner, with exactly three assets. There is the right to have four charts (perhaps even five) in the other major one. The developments are very simple, them also: the return to the stage of 3 in the color of opening is a stop, the jump with the stage of 4 a conclusion, 3SA a proposal for a contract. All the other biddings are natural biddings of slam.
The true consequence of the use of the fitté 2SA is to be sought side of the biddings sustained pressure or not sustained pressure with the second turn. Once regulated the problem of the limiting hands, one can use all the biddings of support for jump with the second turn to indicate ambitions of slam. For example:

Northern south
1 1
2 3

Becomes sustained pressure.

In the same way, the supports differed after 2 out of 1, even without jump, are also sustained pressure and carrying hopes of slam:

Northern south
1 2
2 3

Sustained pressure
It is simplification in the sequences of slam induced by the convention which constitutes the principal advantage of it. To also carry to its credit the fact that the declaration of the sleeve is often faster and thus gives less indications to the adversary. The disadvantages exist, unfortunately. To lose the natural bidding of 2SA necessitates convolutions to declare 3SA, one reperd here what one gained there. Moreover, one often loses a useful turn of bidding in the description of the hand of the opener for the slam. Compare these two sequences:

1 - 2 - 2 - 3 and
1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 2 NT - 3

In the second sequence, North, before expressing its made in Cœur in an imperative way, learned that its test had a regular hand of the weak zone, with the stop with Carreau and without three charts with Trèfle ordered by an honor. In the first, it did not learn anything since it is the opener which must judge its charts for the slam.
The decision of the Teaching National Commission has in fact more obeyed arguments of nature more statistical than technical. Today, the fitté 2SA is practised in the majority of the French clubs and by the majority of the players. It is thus reasonable to make it appear in the French system!

The adoption of the fitté 3SA, to indicate a bidding being equivalent to a support for the sleeve in a hand without singleton comprising at least four assets, is not yet really decided. This convention indeed has as a corollary the use of Splinters and the support for the stage of 4 considered as a stopping. If this way of making is universally widespread in the good players, it is likely to be a little difficult to control by less senior players.

Dany - Which (S) other (S) change (S) important (S) will be there in the new edition of the SEF?

PC - an important change: from now on, all the changes of color in response to an intervention are sustained pressure. One puts oneself thus in conformity with the majority practice of the champions and, more important, with what the beginners learned in the French Bridge.
In addition, a version of a “simplified Roudi” is being studied, but it is not certain that we arrived to something of really satisfactory.
On the other hand, an interesting innovation is the publication of a sheet of convention préremplie - and relatively detailed - in S.E.F. This tool should allow two occasional partners in a club of knowing what they play in a few seconds.

Dany - can you say to me how had the choice of the 3rd pair for the open team?
PC I am not certain to have of it the right, the charter of the team of France imposing to me a duty of reserve (lol). In fact, it is rather simple: we could choose a pair among those which had disputed the final phases. After discussion, we decided for Lévy-Mouiel, the other choice seeming to us possible being Quantin-Multon.

Dany - On which (S) criterion (S)?

PC - Three fundamental criteria: the technical quality of the pair, its international experiment, and its capacity to be integrated harmoniously into our team.

Dany - the Lévy/Mouiel pair, respectively 10th and 11th with the classification of the French players, T it be selected for its last performances has? At the world classification, they arrive behind Chemla 24e world player, in 31e position for Mouiel and 34e for Lévy. Other French being far behind.

PC - Not that for its last performances! Better being “has been is worth” than “never been” said somebody, but Lévy and Mouiel form a pair in full activity which continues to obtain good results. Curiously, they are in this moment more at ease abroad that in France. Let us recall that they gained there is two years the tournament on invitation in Copenhagen and finished seconds of the test by four of Cavendish in Las Vegas. In same Cavendish, which gathers all the best pairs of the world, they always finished up to now among the French best classified.

Dany - wouldn't have been more judicious to take the 8 best French players of the moment to train the Open team?

PC - D' access one needs only six of them! Then, that wants to say “the best French players of the moment”? Are this those which are at the head national classification? Then it is about those which played the most tests, for example mixed, senior or junior. Are this those which gained the great tournaments per French pairs, of Juan the Pines to National Division per pairs? Then one cannot be sure that they will renew their performance within the framework of a team of four. Are this finally those which the rumour indicates like the best? One is not far from throwing oneself in the arms of a selector, that of which nobody wants in France…

Dany - In this kind of selection the cohesion of the team, the friendly relations, are the feeling… as important or more important as the personal results of a selected player?

PC - I do not think that the friendly relations between the players are an indispensable condition of a good result in a championship. I on the other hand believe that one needs a good mutual regard of the practised bridge, in order to ensure a cohesion which, it, is essential in a championship which lasts fifteen days. The results of a player, on the other hand, are not so important. That it or not is wanted, the unit, with the bridge, it is the pair.

Dany - I think in particular of Catherine d' Ovidio, who very gained, which is number 1 world among women, number 1 in the French bridge players, in front of Chemla.
How do you explain that it did not enter the open team?

PC - I have the greatest friendship and the deepest regard for Catherine, who is my partner of mixed and who saved to me this year the first edition of National Division per mixed pairs. I would like however to moderate a little your matter on the classification. Catherine is at the head of the two above mentioned classifications thanks to her formidable results in Ladies and Mixed (inter alia, two titles of champion of the world in two years, excuse little…). But, to my knowledge, it forever gained large Open title. Neither National Division (that it disputes) neither the championship of France per pairs, nor Interclubs. Either besides that the Selection, in spite of the excellent course that it there carried out this year, associated a less tested considered pair. Beyond all that, the reason for which the candidature of Catherine and her partner Danièle Gaviard even was not seriously evoked is much simpler: they have right now their place in team of France Ladies, with, as it is not necessary no to point out it, of excellent chances to obtain an excellent result there. Why decapitate this team whereas it was possible to find into Open an at least equivalent pair?

Dany - Certain Champions complain that the FFB is not interested in the bridge of the elite, does not do anything to ensure best the conditions (psychological and material) necessary to their success at the time of the important competitions or in the preparation of these competitions. What do you think about it?

PC - let us not mix all. The teams of France, open, ladies, senior and even junior, among best are treated world, and it is the Federation which provides for it. The living conditions in the championships have been in general excellent, the Federation take responsibility for its all the expenses related with the championships and, for a few years, pour a premium of victory at the end of the selection which are connected with a remuneration of the international ones. It should be known that in a championship of Europe, it y perhaps four or five countries (out of 36) where the players are as well treated. Everywhere else, the players must support a share of the expenses of the competition, without same speech to be paid to take part in it.
However, it is not false to say that for a few years a certain tension has been established between the players of the elite and the leaders. Those want to direct without too much dialogue, these always do not support the decisions with the punch and play a little the stars. On these questions épidermiques than serious a basic problem is grafted, which is the exact nature of the professionalisation of the bridge. The players ask it, the leaders see it of an evil eye. Moreover, all returns in the order in the event of success, as one saw in Estoril the last autumn.

Dany - What gains on average a player who gains an international competition of first order?

PC it has there no remuneration offered by the organizers of the international competitions. The only thing that you receive when you gain a title, it is a vigorous accodance of the president. However, the French Federation set up a scale of premiums in the event of success in the great championships. The players champions of the world thus touched approximately 13.000 euros for their title.

Dany - These profits are sufficient to motivate the players and to ensure material peace necessary to them to devote itself exclusively to the Bridge?

PC - Absolutely not. The title gained by the Frenchwomen was the first of the history of the French bridge. 13.000 euros in forty years, that does not pay the rent! For the simple participation in team of France, the premium turns around 5.000 euros. It is not so badly, but, if one regards this premium as a remuneration, it should be put in connection with the time spent in selection, drives and in the championship itself. That is to say largely more than one full-time month.

Dany - do you Think that one day there could be a professional bridge in France?

PC I wish it, if we want that our country remains competitive in a discipline where Americans, Italians and many other champions English, Swedish, indonésiens or Polish is full-time professionals right now.

Dany - Which conditions be necessary would to arrive there?

PC - One only solution: to find money! Or the Federation decides to pay its best players monthly - it would have of them possibly the means, but the political good-will does not have any, and it is well its right. Or the players are sponsored directly by firms - the Italian model - or by individuals - the American model. Still it is necessary, and it is there the point of friction which I evoked above, that the Federation, not only is not opposed like it does it today with such solutions, but supports them…

Dany it Bridge on line is a formidable tool for the practice of this play and the recognition of its Champions through the “vugraph” of BBO.

PC - Without any doubt…

Dany it has there noises which run on the fact that the FFB would open in September a French BBO?
Summers you with the current? Can you confirm?

PC - Yes, a contact was made between the F.F.B and Fred Gittelman for this purpose.

Would Dany - How present this French BBO?

PC I could not say to you: on the one hand the subject, seems to me it, is still under discussion, on the other hand it is frankly not my field.

Dany there are you favorable?

PC I am very favorable, personally, with an implication of the Federation in the bridge in line, which it is necessary to regard a development tool and not as a competition made with the clubs. I adore BBO and I would be thus very content with an agreement of the F.F.B with this site. As for the exact methods, they are a little indifferent for me, even if I do not like too the idea of an access paying to BBO, though it arrives. On the other hand, one can undoubtedly propose complementary services which them, could be paying.

Dany - If you had a book of bridge to advise which would be?

PC - All depends on the level of the reader. To learn the system from French bidding, why not “the Small Partner”? (lol). But to like the bridge, then, without any doubt, Bridge in the Menagerie, of Victor Mollo, the funniest book, and most malignant, ever written on our play.

Dany - Which is that which fascinated you the most?

PC - “Adventures in card play”, of Geza Ottlick and Hugh Kelsey. When I read it, that was a dazzling. But it is really a difficult book.

Dany - Which is that which helped you the most when you began?

PC - “the simple and modern Bridge” of Jaïs and Lahana (it was before the major one 5th!) It is the book in which I learned how to raise.

Dany - Which is that which you consult most regularly?

PC - For all to say to you, I have in my opinion one of the most important libraries of bridge of France. Today, it must comprise a little more than thousand works… When I want to slacken, or to go back the head to the bridge, I read a book of card deck in English (Kelsey, Reese, etc) If not, I often throw a glance with the Dictionary of the handlings of color, Jean-Marc Roudinesco, to see whether I were mistaken…

Dany - Which is your best memory related to the Bridge?

PC - the bridge provided me good memories enormously. But best today (because it is one of most recent, perhaps) it is the victory of Benedicte with Estoril. This title, that the Frenchwomen waited since so many years, which had them escaped in an incredible way in Paris in 2001, got an extraordinary emotion and a joy to me. I believe that I was happier than it!

Worse Dany it?

PC - That, it is easy. Brighton, 1987. I play in team of France with Michel Lebel, we are associated Chemla-Perron and Abécassis-Soulet, and we belong to the favourites for the title. For my part, I estimate that it is the strongest team in whom I ever played. And on top, Chemla and Abécassis are annoyed, there are scenes all the championship and, on arrival, we finish seventh, which constituted at the time the worst classification ever obtained by a team of France. Fifteen days of hell. While returning, I said myself “It is finished for me, that does not interest me, their C… ”. And I decided to stop the very high-level competition, and to play sponsored during ten years!

Dany - Which (S) quality (S) seems essential to you (S) at a partner?

PC - solidarity within the pair and clearness.

Dany - Which (S) defect (S) hate you more?

PC - bad faith

Dany - the player who you fascine more?

PC - Michel Perron

Dany - the player who you fascine more?

PC - My wife, obviously!

Dany - I infinitely thank you in the name of all impassioned Bridge in general and for GogosBridgeurs in particular, to have agreed to answer these questions which make it possible to better know you.
We wish you greatest success in Open team


Today's french champions

Kaleidoscope on Philippe and Benedicte Cronier by Claire Bridge