June 12, 2017

The Monastry of SANTA MARIA A RIPA, was probably established around 1533, when a tiny group of young ladies living in the castle of Montecatini Alto and particularly devote to Catholic Church decided  to leave, to escape from the world, and to retire in prayer. Many happenings throughout the centuries led to a disruption of the monastry until 1881, when it had been acquired again, so the nouns from the closest convent of Borgo a Buggiano could live in it, again.  The monastery is still a profound and spiritual place to stay and retire for prayers or for simple seek for peace.

Escaping is something that also is common in some boards in bridge, sometimes not successfuly, as in this board played in the second round of the R16 Play-Offs.

R 2-2 R 16 Play Offs Board 20         

Tab 20

After a 2 opening bid by West, Auken overcalled her spade suit, Upmark showed his strong hand with a 2NT bid. Welland closed the spade game, after two pass, Upmark reopen the bidding with 4NT, relay to 5 Auken said 5 and lastly the E/W partnership decided to play the club slam. Three pass closed the bidding.

Auken had the lead and chose a spade. Declarer won with his ace and ruffed his other spade. He continued with a diamond to his ace, played three trump rounds and claimed 12 tricks.

At the other table things were a little different…producing a huge 18 IMPs swing.

Tab 20

Seamon opened 1 and Migry overcalled 2, Pepsi showed his club suit, and South closed the spade game. After two pass, Pepsi reopened with 4NT and finally decided to play 6. Now Williken had the lead and Migry decided to use a Ligthner double, to suggest that an unusual lead, usually the first suit bid by dummy.

Pepsi very quickly visualized Migry’s heart void, and escaped to 6NT, this time Willeken doubled. Not good this time…Two down doubled = -500.

So if after the championships someone needs to escape for some rest, an alternative way to experience Tuscany could be to sleep at The Monastry of SANTA MARIA A RIPA, where the escape is low  cost: monasteries are cheap or sometimes even free, this is because several monastic orders take hospitality as one of their rules, along with their vows of poverty and charity.

Monastery of Santa Maria a Ripa
Monastery of Santa Maria a Ripa