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2013 Slava Cup

Posted on 16 February 2013

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Slava Memorial CupThe Slava Cup, an invite event for teams, is playing from 22 to 24 of February at Danilovskaya Hotel of Moscow. Two years ago we told the story of this tourney, dedicated to Slava Grinuk (1970-1999), as it had been told us by Vladimir Ivanov, a Muscovite player. We want to publish it again and integrally with the same Ivanov’s words; it’s a so moving story that a link wouldn’t be enough: somebody might miss it.

“He was an ordinary bridge player from Moscow. He died young of cancer, and his friends, who were not bridge players, decided that the best thing they could do to commemorate him was to establish an annual tournament bearing his name. They were rather wealthy so they sponsored the event. It started as a small Russian tournament, but in a few years became am international event. Now it is the most prestigious tournament held in Russia. The touching part of the story that those guys are still sponsoring it despite the fact that they don’t know the first thing about bridge”

It was the 2007 when the tourney became an important international event, with the victory of the Italians Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes. It was still a pair event, but the last year has become for teams, and again the two Italians got the first place in the new format, playing in Monaco Team: Fantoni, Nunes, Helgemo, Helness, Multon, Zimmermann.

There is still the pair tourney, but the main attraction is the invite team event, of course. There are eight teams; they first play a complete round robin, then semi-finals and final, with carry over and right to choice the opponent. The eight participants are the following which we are presenting (by number: at this moment the teams haven’t a name):

 1st: Sweden. Krister Alsheved and Jonas Petterson have won Lille 2012 World Bridge Games; Jan Selberg and Olle Wademark were fifth in 2010 Champions Cup.

2nd The Netherland and Russia. Sjoert Brink, Bauke Muller, Bas Drijver, Simon de Wijs, Viktorija Gromova, Dmitrij Serov. In this team there are four sixths of the 2011 Bermuda Bowl winners plus a second placed Women Teams at Lille 2012, plus her partner from Chelyabinsk, the town on Ural Mountains struck by a meteor shower.

3rd: Monaco. Franck Multon, Geir Helgemo, Fulvio Fantoni, Henri Fissore, Claudio Nunes. Also here there are four sixths of a great Team, the 2012 European Championship’s winners. Henri Fissore is less known, but he was a fixed player of the little State before the arriving of the Norwegian and Italian giants.

4th Russia and Italy. Andrey Gromov, Mikhail Krasnosselski, Evgueni Gladysh, Alexander Dubinin, Norberto Bocchi, Agustin Madala. The first four were fourth in 2012 Champions Cup with the Bridge Real Team. The two Italian players do not  require an introduction.

5th Another Russian and Italian team: Vadim Kholomeev and Yury Khiuppenen usually play for Russia with Dubinin and Gromov, quoted above. Ivan Semenov and Vitold Sliva haven’t great records in team events. Antonio Sementa and Giorgio Duboin, as the other four Italians, needn’t be drawn.

6th Israel. Alon Birman, Lotan Fisher, Ilan and Ophir Herbst, Dror Padon, Ron Schwartz. This is a team of boys or little more: Alon Birman and Dror Padon just in 2006 won the School World Championship; Birman, Lothan Fisher and Ron Schwartz were first in 2010 Philadelphia World Series Junior Teams and first in 2011 European Youth Team Championship. Birman, Fisher, Padon and Scwhartz have won the 2011 Transnational World Team Championship in Veldhoven, and that wasn’t boy stuff. Even nothing saying of the Herbsts, this looks to me a team with great chemistry.

7th Belarus, Lithuania, Poland. Andrey Arlovich, Erikas Vainikonis, Jacek Kalita, Michal Nowosadzki, Piotr Zatorski, Michal Klukowski. Arlovich is Belarusian but plays in Lithuanian Team. Jacek Kalita is young, but already second placed in 2010 European Championship at Ostend, in Polish team. Nowosadzki and Zatorski have won the 2009 European Universities Championship. Klukowski is 2012 Youngsters World Champion in Polish Team; the “youngsters” are those kids born after the 1992. Very young, Michal Klukowski, but rapidly growing.

8th Bulgaria. Diyan Tsvetanov Danailov, Gueorgui Stamatov Stamatov, Ivan Nanev Ivanov, Rosen Georgiev Gunev. The most famous of them is Danailov, who played in Bulgarian team at San Paulo 2009 Bermuda Bowl, placing fourth.

I don’t think that there are in Europe other events as strong as this one; there are almost all the winners of the last four Bermuda Bowl but 2007 (2005 Italy, 2007 USA, 2009 Norway, 2011 The Netherlands). But the used question – which team is the strongest one – here might be misleading. If we thought in matter of pairs’ strength a good choice would be the Fourth Team, with Gromov, Krasnosselski, Gladysh, Dubinin, Bocchi, Madala. But there are at least three teams which could have a great chemistry, therefore the 2013 Slava Cup might give a response to a key question: is it more important the pairs’ strength or the Team chemistry? In other words: is Bridge really a Partnership game or is it a Team game instead?

 ***

Paolo Enrico Garrisi

February 16, 2013

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