Monday August 13: Today dawned cloudy and humid. After breakfast I went, as usual, to the hotel where stays the Venezuelan delegation that is in passing the Grand Palais. Like every morning we discussed boards with Paolo Pasquini, José Maria Franco Valdes and Gusso. The post mortem «Venezuelan style» is unmatched to the point of making me laugh nonstop. At about 10 AM we left to play. Today was a hard day for many teams they were playing their last chance for classification and their faces denoted greater stress to the previous days. Of the three South American teams with chances to qualify, the Ladies of Brazil took the best part and ensured their classification to the next stage, congratulations! Voces are the pride of South America!. After the first match we were smoking at the door and suddenly I saw one of the desk members skateboarding desk by the middle of the crowd. It turns out that between the office and the door is over 350 meters to walk, then Silvia Valentini (a genius) decided to buy a skateboard to cover the distance and go outside to smoke. I timidly asked if it could try a while, and he acceptd… haha! I am going to use them in the morning!. Then I come across with the number one world ranking and good friend, the great world teacher Fulvio Fantoni with which we decided to
exchange our daily columns, so everyone can enjoy today Fulvio’s pen! Thank you Master!. After the second match started a sandwich lunch with Brazilian brothers who did not play the second round (Ernesto d’Dorsi, Guilerme Paulo Junqueira…) we share a table with Lutz Donnert of Venezuela and Herman de Wael, again I laughed to tears! After a bad start against Romania, Argentina lose 25 to 5), Argentina faced South Africa when they were third… Italy and Russia. The Argentine won 25 to 5 recovering some of the lost positions after the first round. After the second round I met Claudio Nunes, co-director Fulvio and a Romanian, the conversation was crazy, she spoke in English, Claudio in Italian and I in Spanish, the most curious is that the three of us understood perfectly. This can only happen in the world of bridge. ! Then at 19 o’clock I had an interview with the president emeritus of the WBF Jaime Ortiz Patiño who has just published a book describing the first 50 year history of the bridge, we recorded an interview which may be found in the video channel of CSB. The book promises to be very interesting. Soon we will advance some instances of it. At night we went to dinner with Agustin Madala, Franco and Jonathan Hantos Gusso, today I missed! I asked a steak, big mistake!, Fernando Piedras joined us later, he is from Uruguay but he lives in Switzerland since many years. We had a pleasant conversation and a good Merlotthat make me forget my bad food of my choice . French cuisine is excellent but do not ask for meat. Last but not least, we went for a last glass of wine at the hotel where Agustine stays, there we
met Alfredo Versace, Antonio Sementa and the famous journalist Alberto Benetti. As soon I arrived I told Alfredo that I wanted to comment a board.The technical explanation of Alfredo was a treat for everyone, especially for Jonathan and Danny Cruz. Alfredo Thanks for the explanation, for choosing us to publish your hands, you have incredible humility and friendship which ultimately is the most important. 12:30 pm Alfredo and Antonio had the kindness to bring us home with the famous «Frecha Nera» . The tournament is top and tomorrow promises to be a special day, now to sleep. PS: Tomorrow I have table tennis practice at 8:30 pm with a friend who works in the organization. The Dutch masters are sure they will win, but it wont be an easy defeat.
Sunday August 12: Today since the morning, «Phoebus was on command.»
My day began 7:00 am breakfast, 7:40 I was on facebook and as usual at 8 a walk to a close hotel where are staying part of the Brazil and Venezuela players, all great friends. At 8:15 I was sharing the table with Leda Pain and Gabriel Chagas and at 9 I went to smoke at the table of the delegation of Venezuela a priceless experience. Commenting hands with Jose Maria Valdes is priceless, unique style, his clear vision of the game and especially his diction, make it unique in South America. Venezuela… Thanks for sharing! At 10:15 we left for the Palais, I find it fun to hear speak in many different languages and suddenly recognize some words, naming conventions, etc..
Already in the Palais my frien Perlita Sultan from the Venezuela Ladies Team introduced me to Romain Zalesky, a new member of the Italian team, he is playing with Alfredo Versace, see photos. Perlita congratulations, you an incredible ambassador for your country!
Photos, more photos and 12:30 I interviewed Mr. Gianni Medugno FIGB new president. This time I was assisted by one of the world’s most recognized journalists and personal friend: Mr. Alberto Benetti. The interview was wonderful! and the impression I had of Gianni was the best, brave Italy! They have chosen as their president a person with great qualities, is intelligent, quick thinking and super nice, what else could you want. (See video in the video channel of CBS).
«Who is playing with Norberto Bocchi?
The smaller cousin of Lorenzo Lauria (LOL)
Note of the day: the result of Guadalupe against the world champion team (Netherlands) 24 to 6 (SEE PHOTO Phillipe Mathieu).
Tomorrow will be a hard day. Back to my hotel I found Sjoer Drijver and Brink and accepted a challenge … table tennis. Tomorrow I’ll tell you.
Saturday, August 11: Today was a splendid day with a wonderful weather. The day began very early for me: 6:00 a.m., after reading all the on-line newspaper down for breakfast before 7:00 , as every day, expresso, boiled eggs, cheese and fruit, at 7:30 finished, then I uploaded some pictures and at 8:30, aftereards my daily walk to the hotel where the people of Venezuela are.
In the morning we talked about some boards with Paolo Pasquini, Franco Gusso, Jonathan Hantos and Jose Maria Valdes, discuss the hands with them is a really a pleasure! I can not reproduce the epithets used to describe some situations, only people that have shared a post mortem with them, can understand me, because of their unique style to describe bridge situations. Deserves a separate paragraph the lexicon used by them only makes me mourn with laughter!
In the Open category both Brazil and Argentina showed a strong rebound, and in the ladies category Brazil is second in its grouo and have huge chances to qualify.
There is a remarkable cordiality between all participants, good vibes…. I find it fun to listen to the players discuss the hands in many diferent languages, and although I do not understand Chinese or Russian or Polish I can imagen the board they are speaking about, the pik is pik, the A can be Ace o Aso o As, and with some few clues you already can find out which board they are commenting…no matter the language.
Seems like all the world brigistas know and believe in Murphy’s Law, «the blame is always partners or teammates’
At night, when the play was over I was invited to lunch by the Argentina Senior team, we went to the restaurant «Le Napoleon» and I think it will be remembered for a long time! We asked for mussels (Provencal and beer), a cheese board, afterwards pasta and omelllets and a chocolate ice cream, all yummy!
Finally, I had my last drink with players from Netherlands and went to bed. Tomorrow will be a hard day for everyone, good luck for al the South American delegations… good luck to all!
Friday, August 10: Friday August 10: Today the first summer day, at last!. For me, the day began early, breakfast at 7 am, walk around, and departure to the Grand Palais for some action. I must remark a peculiarity of the city, there are many bikes, but more surprising is to see so much skateboarding teens!, I was tempted to borrow one, at least to go around the block.
The action: The bridge was the only one that began today, the remaining 4 sports start tomorrow. The first day Southamerica had a bad day: Click Here. The first positive result came from Argentina, won its first match 25-x and the Venezuelan ladies beating the powerful Germany 22 to 8. Bravo Venezuela!
Today was a very hard day for all South American delegations they clashed with many powerfull teams, hope they will have a better tomorrow.
At night I went for dinner with french friends, I enjoyed a 5-cheese ravioli , well accompanied by a spectacular red wine, back to the hotel where you only can hear about the hands of the day, I shared a nice after-dinner with players from Denmark, fortunately Bekkouche Nadia acted as translator, TYVM Nadia!
Here many ladies bridge players have their nails painted with the flag of their country, in the same style of many of the olympic athletes, London 2012.
One of the most interesting hand of the day was:S void, H Ax , D AK94, T AKQJ974, all pairs who play 2/1 opened in 2C, pass, 2D, pass, 3C, 3S pass pass … Now what?
Partner’s hand was: S KJ10xx, H xxx, D Q532, C 5. The onlywinning grand slam is 7D, very few little arrived to 7D, those who played 7C finished one down.
Tomorrow begins the other disciplines, we will see how we will live all together, now to bed!
Thursday, August 9:Today was a splendid day, very sunny and the temperature more than pleasant. In the morning, up before 7 am, had a room-breakfast and 40 minutes after I left to walk through the old city that has me mesmerized by her beauty. The diagram itself is unique with streets intersecting at diagonals and where it is very easy to lose orientation. Most of the bridgistas roam a city map in hand, but not evven with a plane it is easy to navigate.
Around 11:30 I went to the «Grand Palais» to register, then went to lunch with some of the senior team players from Argentina, to the center of the city, ate a ham and gruyere cheese omellete…delicious, accompanied with an excelent wine, then to bed for a nap… 19:00 pm was the opening ceremony.
At 18:30 pm to the Grand Palais, lucky me…i walked with an Australians, South Africans and Indonesians contingent who knew the way well, this time I used only 5 minutes to arrive, incredible!
The Ceremony: At 19:10 the ceremony began with the participation of athletes from all Mind Sports that are part of the Olympic movement. Most delegations were dressed in their uniform, all relaxed and smiling.
The keynote speaker was Mr. Jose Damiani President of IMSA (Internation Mind Sports Asosiation), and was attended by the presidents of all sports memeber, 50 minutes after they offered a welcome drink, when we all hope to socialize with friends some of them we only see once a year. Afterwards I had lunch with my friends from the Venezuelan delegation.
This was all for today, tomorrow the action begins 10:30 am.
Wednesday, August 8: On Wednesday afternoon, along with most of the delegation of Argentina we left for Paris. We had a great flight and I emphasize the care received from Air France, was excellent. On Thursday at noon we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport and after immigration and customs we went to confirm our train tickets.
At 55 minutes of arriving I was already on the train to Lille, a train-like «Sarmiento» lol, air conditioning, bar, etc.. and incredible speed. Looking out the window did not seem much until we had the first junction with another train coming in the opposite direction, and what a speed!, It was amazing less than 2 seconds and it was over. Looking out the window I was surprised to see many cemeteries, from the second world war.
We arrived in Lille! On my arrival in this beautiful city I live a something funny story. Off the train I go out (to smoke fast) and stop a taxi, I speak with the driver and told him (as I could) the address of my hotel, he laughed and indicated to my right. The hotel was across the street! J J J
The hotel already breathed bridge!, Waiting my turn to check in a while I watched a lot of people playing, from Australia, Canada and Japan, all very legal with their convention cards on the table J
At last I went to my room, I shower, I undo the bag and depart to the Grand Palaise … the duplicate was at its best!. I leave the hotel and first I meet Luis Palazzo who had come on a later train, he and Marcela Zavalia were looking for their hotel, and how to arrive to it according to a city map!, After I salute I left and found the Grand Palaise about 10 blocks from my hotel.
There I find that records just open tomorrow, etc.., after saying goodbye to some acquaintances I went downtown I should have spent there about 40 minutes I start walking towards downtown and I find myself with Luis and Mercedes again!!! Luis dragging two suitcases without losing his good humor and Marcela looking in the city map, here no one speaks English!. Finally, and following the instructions they found their hotel! bravo at last!, I went on my way to downtown.
After walking around and having lunch I meet the open Argentina team who were having a few beers in a bar, what a satisfaction to hug my dear Charlie! (Carlos Pellegrini), who since he left to attend the National remained in Philadelphia invited by Debbie Hyatt USA and came directly. See the Photos! tomorrow there will be more!
At night, after a pair of red wine glasses with Akis Cannaris (Gre) finally I went to bed. See you tomorrow everyone!