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Montecatini 2017: Eight and a Half

8th European Open Championships

Montecatini, Italy • 10 – 24 June 2017

 Championship Site   EBL Championship Bulletin   Mixed Teams Results 

June 16, 2017       

Italy’s most famous spa, without question, is Montecatini Terme. ‘Taking the waters’ at the thermal springs here was an essential component of the sophisticate’s 19C grand tour, and the graceful Belle Epoque architecture of those civilized times still dominates. The facilities and treatments at the handful of spas, however, are state of the art. If you’re a Fellini fan, head to Terme Tettuccio, where he filmed his iconic 8 ½ in the early 1960s. Rival Monsummano Terme boasts a unique natural ‘thermal grotto,’ a hot underground lake.

Today, in Montecatini, finished the European Open Bridge Pairs Championship, after the qualifying stage (two sessions of 26 boards each), and 4 final sessions of 24 boards each, the pair of Michal Klukowski-Justyna Zmuda (Pol- Pol) were consecrated as the champions. When only one board was missing to finish the championship the pair Auken-Welland were located first with a minimum advantage of 0.70 of IMP, but after the last board they had to settle for second place.

Let’s see two boards that the champions played against Alfredo Versace and Emanuela Pramotton, in the last session of the final.

Board 9   aaxx

East – West play some kind of strong club, so East’s 1 opening bid, limited her hand. Versace interrupted with 2, Michal described his FG hand with four cards support bidding 2NT. Zmuda closed the spade game, showing no interest in playing slam and Klukowski passed.

Versace led his 4. And very soon after Justyna scored 680. As you can see the only lead to defeat the spade slam is the A followed by a club for a North’s ruff … this fact should not have escaped to anybody at the table.

Board 10aaxx

Next board, Zmuda opened 1NT, Michal asked for majors with 2, and Justyna showed her four spades, only a little later when Klukowski showed his partner that he had no spade support and invited her to play slam, she offered to play the diamond slam, that was corrected to the NT slam.

Again the club lead defines the contract and again the club lead was almost impossible … Versace chose to lead with the 9 and this time Justyna made 13 tricks.

It seems that the Poland pair, must be Fellini fan, so they let be carried away by his surrealism and related the first board to the second, declaring the slam in NT, although their lack of the ace and the king of club. If Versace (ITA) had remembered how Fellini’s film 8 1/2, weaves in and out of reality and fantasy, perhaps it would have woven a fine loop between the board 9 and board 10 and would have decided to lead a club only to verify that the first hand only foreshadowed what he had to do in the second .. certainly too fellinesque.

The champions results in this table were 90% in board 9 and 84% in board 10.


Remember they won the championship only by 0.02 %… thanks to Fellini…


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