Gabino Cintra
Marcelo Castello Branco
Marcelo Castello Branco

by Marcelo Castello Branco: (Ler em brasileiro)

 The game room of the typical American Hotel was huge, and as we were East-West our mission was to cross from one side to another of the room, when the director said: Next round, folks! … Move!

It was the last session of the 5th WORLD OPEN PAIRS CHAMPIOSHIP   New Orleans 1978 and as we had gone to sleep in the second place some tension naturally reflected in our faces.

While looking for the next table, we walked without a single comment … we didnt want something to broke that magical moment … the game was proceeding very well. At most a small laugh, a quick change of sights, as saying:

– You know, NO? .. We are with chances to win.

The tournament finished.

Those were different times, without a computer, the calculation was manual. Many came to ask: How did it go? Are you  winning the tournament?

In unison, we answer: Calm people, yes we did well … but lets wait for the result.

The minutes passed.

Lia, Gabino’s wife brought the first rumor: «It seems that you have won, but no one can believe it. The directors are locked in a room, calculating all the tournament again.»

While I was waiting outside, a director leaves the room and look at me like I was a Martian.

Hmm … I thought: A Martian cant be second …

A little later came Sammy Kehela, Lia looks at him and he winks.

Soon after came the confirmation of our success and the classic champagne bath!

Gabino and I looked at each other and simply said, PQP, so we win this thing!

And we deserved the victory!

I count this  dramatic and so happy time that I lived with Gabino Cintra, only as an introduction. I call it introduction because this victory and this moment had begun to be built many years ago.

Gabino Cintra, my cousin, was the one who introduced us, my brother Peter, my brother-in-law Emile, my mother, my sister Ana Maria, my father and myself to Bridge. In my parents house, Peter and Altina, playing cards was not only a source of fun was also a binding motif and attraction for many. An open house, with unlocked doors, happy, where naive and healthy card games were developed.

Gabino with his brother Nelson were regulars. Later came Lia, who by then was Gabino’s girlfriend.

One day, Gabino came to my house and said: – Enough of Poker, King and Oh Hell!. From now on we will play bridge, and brought a book to study the game. The book was somewhat rustic, just a typed sheets with the game and the basic principles of the bidding. All of us said … Gabino, what a complicated game! But little by little, with his exceptional intelligence, he was convincing enough to show us the beauty, the subtleties and mysteries of the game.

We surrender!

From there were many adventures, many tournaments, many championships, a lot of travel and delicious dinners always enjoying his company. Victories … Many. Losses also, but those who were privileged to be part of the team with Gabino Cintra: Christiano Fonseca, Pedro Paulo Assumpção, Gabriel Chagas, my brother Peter and I, know it was worth it!

Campeonato Sudamericano 1972: Adelstano Porta d' Ave, Pedro, Gabriel, Marcelo. Gabino y Christiano.
Campeonato Sudamericano 1972: Adelstano Porta d’ Ave, Pedro, Gabriel, Marcelo. Gabino y Christiano.

Many who did not have that opportunity, both Brazilian and foreign, have always recognized in Gabino, his talent, his ethical stance and impeccable elegance in the game.

And what to say about him off the table, his funny personality, generous and attractive. Gabino Cintra is and will always be remembered as one of the legendary figures of the Bridge.

And certainly he deserves it!

I, who was lucky enough to live with him as his friend and his teammate… I have only to say:

Thanks, Gabino!