The WBF Committee of Honour was formed in 1972 for the purpose of recognizing the unselfish efforts of individuals in making a significant contribution to the enhancement and growth of bridge throughout the world.
Nominations to the Committee must be made by a minimum of three members of the WBF Executive Council from three separate Zones. Election to the Committee requires an affirmative vote from three-quarters of the Executive Council members, the detailed requirements being set out in article 3.3 of the By-laws. Nomination may only be made in even numbered years. After the amendment approved in 2014 the Committee of Honour may not exceed thirteen living members.
The WBF Gold Pin, the highest award offered by the WBF, is awarded only to members of the Committee of Honour.
When the Committee was formed in 1972, only three persons received the required nominations and votes. They were: Geoffrey L. Butler (GB), Waldemar von Zedtwitz (USA) and Charles L. Solomon (USA).
In 1974 the WBF President, Julius Rosenblum, was unanimously elected whilst Albert Morehead (USA) and Baron de Nexon (France) were posthumously elected. In 1976 Ben O. Johnson (USA) and André Lemaitre (Belgium) were elected to the Committee.
In 1978 there were two more nominations, each receiving the unanimous support of all six Zones at that time represented on the Executive Council, as a result of which General Alfred M Gruenther (USA) and Jaime Ortiz-Patiño (Switzerland) were elected.
In 1984 three more persons were elected: Richard L. Goldberg (USA), Nils E. Jensen (Sweden) and Edgar Kaplan (USA).
In 1986 Robert Howes (USA) and Ernesto d’Orsi (Brazil) were elected. In 1988, José Damiani (France) was elected.
In 1994 Robert S. Wolff (USA) was elected.
In 1998, in Lille Jean-Claude Beineix (France), Mazhar Jafri (Pakistan) and John Wignall (New Zealand) were elected. In 2002, in Montreal, Joan Gerard (USA), Panos Gerontopoulos (Greece) and George Retek (Canada) were elected.
In 2004, Istanbul, Gianarrigo Rona (Italy) was elected, receiving the unanimous support of all eight Zones represented on the Executive Council.
In 2014, Sanya, Patrick Choy (Singapore), Marc De Pauw (Belgium), Alvin Levy (USA) and Anna Maria Torlontano (Italy) were elected, whilst Jens Auken (Denmark) and Jean-Louis Derivery (Guadalupe) were posthumously elected.
In 2016 Wroclaw, Chen Zelan (China) and Georgia Heth (USA) were elected.
In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, the Executive Council Meetings were held via internet and Zia Mahmood (USA), pictured above, was elected.
Following the death of Charles Solomon, Julius Rosenblum, Ben Johnson, André Lemaitre, General Gruenther, Waldemar von Zedwitz, Geoffrey Butler, Edgar Kaplan, Richard Goldberg, Robert Howes, Nils Jensen, Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, Joan Gerard, Jean-Claude Beineix, Ernesto d’Orsi, Anna Maria Torlontano and John Wignall the living members of the Committee of Honour are, as follows: José Damiani (Chairman), Chen Zelan, Patrick Choy, Marc De Pauw, Panos Gerontopoulos, Georgia Heth, Mazhar Jafri, Alvin Levy, Zia Mahmood, George Retek, Gianarrigo Rona, and Robert S. Wolff.
Some of the past Members of the Committee of Honour
Jean Louis Derivery
Anna Maria Torlontano
Jean Claude Beineix