It will start today one of the most beautiful and challenging East European bridge tournaments: the Vilnius Bridge Festival. Held in Lithuania each year since the Sixties, it will see top-level participants facing the winners of the recent Oostend European championships.
The event sees taking officially the field the Italian team lead by Romain Zaleski, the new promising entry of the Italian bridge world. He will lead the three players: Versace, Lauria and Giubilo. This new line-up comes after the break-up of the Angelini team.
Romain is already known in the Italian tournaments for his participation to some of the biggest Italian bridge competitions, among which the latest Milan Tournament. It’s wrong to reckon him just a sponsor: he’s an excellent player, particularly strong in defending, accustomed to compete at the top-levels with winning results.
Romain and his team left Rome yesterday followed by the curiosity of those who want to see how the players will deal with the new line-up. They all look calm but they are aware of the difficulty of the Lithuanian competition.
Zaleski will play with Alfredo. For them this is the first time. They played together only a few times on some Bridge Base On Line duplicates. The second pair, Lorenzo and Valerio, has been already put in trial but they aren’t a steady pair.
I hope to shortly learn which system Romain and Alfredo will employ. It seems they are going to play a 2/1, while Lauria-Giubilo is going to use the new and up to date system, well know from everybody in the team, so that they will be interchangeable.
A curiosity: Valerio is the official keeper of the single completed copy of the system, big as much as the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Vilnius Bridge festival will develop on a three-competitions basis. The first one, played today, is a pair tournament with invitations with a particular mechanism which I will soon explain. The second one is a traditional teams tournament; the first four teams will play the round robin for the final victory.
The format of the today tourney is unusual for we Italians. There’s not entry fee, but any pair has to deposit 200€. It’s an IMPs tourney; any IMP is worth 6€; at the end, the pair will collect his 200€ and will earn six euros each IMP won (or will pay six euros each IMP the opponents win!). Forty four pair start, the battle is on knives edge; there are many callings for director. In one call, Giubilo and Lauria were right: so the intelligent director has ruled! When the smoke cleared, Lauria and Giubilo were in fourth position, with a satisfactory +52 IMPs (fifty-two IMPs).
Giubilo said : “We have played well. I have made a mistake as declarer; I could have rescued it, but I didn’t guess. “We are a little tired because the planned pause was cancelled.” Giubilo added: Anyway, we are not too much tired.”
Quite bad went the pair Alfredo and Romain. Possibly, it depends on lacking some agreements.
The team is going tomorrow to have the fire baptism in the teams. I wish fun to all of four.
translated by Diana and Paolo Enrico Garrisi