Apologises for being late in reporting the match against Slovakia, I didn’t arrive until board 8, and the theory of hitting the smaller teams hard was be prosecuted with extreme prejudice!
It would be remiss of me not to mention Italy’s untimely exit from the World Cup by a certain team from Slovakia, never has an Italian team had the opportunity to exact revenge for such an ignominious defeat!
Bocchi and Malada were in great form in this match, they have a greater burden because their inclusion has been questioned in some quarters, they have been playing for a relative short period of time. Their team mates were Duboin, Bocchi’s old partner, and Sementa, it is fair to say that all four were in top form during the match. The quartet managed to win by 76-15 (25-3). This took Italy to the top of the table in group A.
The match against France would be more difficult, they have many great players to choose from, and they invariably all play a version of the french system of 5 card majors. Not too many gadgets, just superb bidding judgement and accurate card play and defence.
We started off by gaining 4imps for greater aggressiveness in both rooms, Alfredo-Lauria bid to an unmakeable 4H in one room, this induced the French to bid 5D, that had to go down, and in the other the French stopped in 3H, that went down 1.
The next board we bid a 50-50 game, but an off-side King scuppered the contract, and the French were ahead. Both sides played well, very few imps being exchanged hands. Alfredo defended well against Levy in a 2S that one would have normally expected him to make, down 2 vul. It was clear that the players were not here as tourists, they had come to play and do battle, both teams having a high degree of mutual respect for each other.
The first major swing went to Italy, after the normally reliable Mari competed against a 2S bid by Italy, he bid 2NT to show the minors, he had 6-4, and very few points, Mari’s hapless partner bid 3C, and this was doubled, the resulting penalty was 1100, -4. This board was later corrected because of was played with a rotation of 180 °. So Italy did not gained +15 but only + 5.
The next board Versace-Lauria should have bid to an easy slam after they opened 2NT, unaccountably they stopped in game, this will cause much gnashing of teeth and plenty of late night discussion. The next board, lo and behold the same sort of error happened, this time via a 2C opener, 26 points, always a little difficult sometimes to find the exact cards in partners invariably weak hand to make a slam, so the upshot of this is that we lost a bucket of imps on two slam hands.
These two slam swings and the troube in bord mentioned (+5 instead of + 15) led to our defeat. The one major Italian victory was nullifie.
France vs Italy final score was 47-18 (21-9)
This caused us to fall back into second place behind the Icelandics, and France moved into 4th.
Gluckenval, official commentator Vugraph BBOTranslated by Mr. John Wilmott