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Written by Fulvio Fantoni on 04 July 2014. Posted in European Championships - Opatija 2014

Monaco 2nd place European Championships 2014

Hi all :)
After many days of Championship, unfortunately we lived a bridge player's worst nightmare: losing the gold medal at the very last match, and for an only board! 
Before the start of the last match we had slipped in second position but between us and the first team, Israel, there was less than 1 VP. The last match between Israel and Norway was not going well for the first team so, during the match, we were leading again. Then, we would have just needed to avoid to make a mistake in a board in order to confirm our first place. Unfortunately, that mistake arrived...
Every supporter knows the feeling of seeing their favourite team losing at the last minute after a long match... We are deeply sorry that this time this happened to our supporters and friends, after many days of - we can say - a well played Championship.

Let's analyze the "famous" board:

Fulvio Fantoni Bridge Board

Fulvio Fantoni Bridge Board

After West's 30fiori, my 30cuori is standard. So, from my point of view:
40picche = Cue Bid, Hearts support
4NT = even number of Key Cards
50fiori = Cue Bid
50quadri = Cue Bid
XX = 0quadriA
50cuori = I have nothing to say
60fiori = I can have Clubs void
60quadri = I don't have the 0fioriA, so if you have the Clubs void we can go on...
60picche = ????!!!! maybe 40picche was natural for Claudio?

From Claudio's point of view, on the contrary, 30cuori was 5+0picche (transfer), so:
40picche = Spades support
4NT = even number of Key Cards (trump is Spades)
50fiori = Cue Bid
50quadri = Cue Bid
XX = 0quadriA
50cuori = Cue Bid
60fiori = first round control
60quadri = 0quadriK
60picche = 0piccheQ is missing

So this is how we reached the wrong slam.

Now you are probably wondering who was right between Claudio and me, that's to say: according to our system, is 30cuori standard or transfer?
Well, it is standard, because we play transfer on 10fiori opening, not on 10quadri opening.

Of course, this board matters just like all the other boards that caused a 14 IMPs loss in ten days, because according to the format of the Championship the points scored in every match are summed up for the calculation of the final ranking. Hadn't we lost 14 IMPs in one of the matches we had played before versus the qualified teams we would have won the gold... 

Unfortunately the girls of Italian National team had a sad ending, too. After a great Championships, always at the top positions of the ranking, before the last match they were leading, but they finished fourth, out of the podium for very very few points. I am deeply sorry for their disappointment, but I'd like to tell them that they proved their talent! Don't let the hundredth VPs of the final ranking cheat you, but let the 10 days of your top level race and the important victory versus England, one of the best women teams in the world, convince you. Congratulations to Margherita Chavarria, Caterina Ferlazzo, Gabriella Manara, Simonetta Paoluzi, Francesca Piscitelli and Ilaria Saccavini. Well done girls!

A strong hug and congratulations also to my friend Debora Campagnano, who represented France and won the bronze medal with her team. Well done!!

Finally, congratulations to all the winners of the Championships, starting from the Ladies:
the winners, Dutch National team of Carla Arnolds, Marion Michielsen, Jet Pasman, Anneke Simons, Wietske Van Zwol, Meike Wortel, Alex Van Reenen (npc) and Hans Kelder (coach);
the second placed team, English National team of Sally Brock, Fiona Brown, Heather Dhondy, Catherine Draper, Nevena Senior, Nicola Smith, Derek Patterson (npc) and David Burn (coach);
the third placed team, French National team of Debora Campagnano, Benedicte Cronier, Elisabeth Hugon, Vanessa Reess, Sylvie Willard, Joanna Zochowska and Jerome Rombaut (npc).

And the winners of the Open:
the winners, Israeli National team of Alon Birman, Lotan Fisher, Ilan Herbst, Ophir Herbst, Dror Padon, Ron Schwartz and Ron Pachtman (npc);
the third placed team, English National team of David Bakhshi, Tony Forrester, David Gold, Jason Hackett, Justin Hackett, Andrew Robson, Simon Cope (npc) and Ben Green (coach).

Then I would like to thank from my heart Goran and Branka Grguric, who collaborated with EBL as organizers of the Championship on site, for their hospitality, their amazing kindness and their great care. We had already known Goran and Branka during the European Champions' Cup, here in Opatija, and meeting them again and enjoying their terrific job was a great pleasure.

See you soon :)
Fulvio

 

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