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A Team in Need Gets a Fourth

The New York TimesMAY 7, 2014

In the final of the Bermuda Bowl world team championship last year, Italy defeated Monaco by 210 international match points to 126 over 96 boards.

This impressive win was even more remarkable because Norberto Bocchi, Agustin Madala, Lorenzo Lauria and Alfredo Versace played throughout for Italy. The team’s third pair, Giorgio Duboin and Antonio Sementa, had played well in earlier rounds, especially in the semifinal, but they were sidelined, reportedly because of illness.


Then, soon after the tournament ended in Bali, it was announced that Duboin and Sementa were dissolving their partnership. Sementa, along with Lauria and Versace, were moving to the team sponsored by Francesco Angelini.

Bocchi, Duboin and Madala were going to stay with their sponsor, Maria Teresa Lavazza. But they needed a fourth player.

Bocchi-Madala en Bali 2013
Bocchi-Madala en Bali 2013

They have chosen Alejandro Bianchedi from Argentina. He has two passports, because his father is Italian. Madala is also Argentine by birth, and the last time he represented Argentina was in the 2004 World Team Olympiad in Istanbul, when he was 15 years old. His partner was Bianchedi. That event was won by an Italian team of Bocchi, Duboin, Lauria, Versace, and Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, who are now playing for Monaco. Bianchedi, Bocchi, Duboin and Madala will use the complex Big Bang bidding system that has been developed by Bocchi and Madala. The Big Bang style is aggressive when nonvulnerable, but more circumspect when vulnerable.

Bianchedi was the declarer in the diagramed deal during the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs in Phoenix last November. The deal was presented on NewInBridge ( without any bidding. In the given auction, South made one try with two spades, but when this did not excite North, because he had 4-3-3-3 distribution and eight losers, South settled for game.

Mano NYT

West led the club ten. Bianchedi took the trick with his jack, drew trumps, unblocked his club king, cashed his diamond ace, played a diamond to dummy’s king, discarded a spade on the club ace and ruffed dummy’s last diamond in his hand.

East had shown up with six clubs, two hearts and at least three diamonds. He was clearly short in spades. So declarer crossed to dummy with a trump and played a spade to his king.

West won with his ace, but was endplayed. Knowing that a diamond return would concede a ruff-and-sluff, West led back a low spade. But South ran that to his 10 to take 12 tricks.

Plus 480 was worth 63.5 match points out of 77. Bianchedi and Hector Camberos from Argentina finished 11th behind — you guessed it — that man Madala again, teaming with Steve Weinstein of Andes, N.Y.



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