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Affaire Fantunes: Paolo Garrisi answers Fabrizio Catarsi

  leggi in italiano »

First, it needs to summarize the matter. Mrs. Maria Teresa Lavazza, Technical Official of the Bridge Italian team, has released a bulletin with the six names for the European open Championship which will be played at Ostende.

Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes, two players that many consider the world’s strongest pair, weren’t listed; their supporters have protested and many people, not necessarily all supporters, have written to the Federation asking the reasons of the choice.

  Fabrizio Catarsi (read here >>), from Pisa, defends the pair Bocchi-Madala, the new entry: they are valid and enough experienced, he says.

I reply: okay, but the question is if they are worth Fantoni and Nunes, the first and the third in world ranking.

 Mr. Catarsi then attacks Fantoni and Nunes: if they were excluded, there’s a reason, and they ought to explain it.

My reply: clearly, there’s always a reason when someone were excluded from something. However, it’s odd to entitle on banned ones the duty of explaining why.

Finally, the man from Pisa defends Mrs. Lavazza’s right to do not reply: she hasn’t to justify is work to the people. We, which are asking, are “curiosoni” in Mr. Catarsi’s vocabulary; “curiosoni” is an untranslatable word which mean is next to “nosey parkers” and to “pettifogging people”.

This looks to me a strange application of the principle of equality: Mrs. Lavazza’s silence comes from a right; we – the “curiosoni” – have to be silent because a duty. Then we all are equal, but not in right and duties: in being silent. I have a doubt: maybe all this is nothing but a trick of the “Vernacoliere”, the weekly satiric magazine of Leghorn that darts awful teases toward the Pisa’s neighbours (there’s rivalry between the two towns). I have sent the article to the Vernacoliere; I’m awaiting clarifications from them.

Now it’s time to talk about Bridge: in order to understand what’s happening today, we need to know a bit of it’s story. For nearly two decades, from 1957 to 1975, the Blue Team has dominated the world, winning thirteen of the fifteen Bermuda Bowl and three of four Olympics. In 1970 and in 1971 Italy did’nt line up its giants; they came back ’73 and ’75, winning again. In the late sixties a Texan magnate, Ira Corn, had created a team: the Aces of Dallas won during the two-year absence of our greats, but it was not until 1976 that the Americans prevailed against the Italian legends: Belladonna, Garozzo, Forquet. About the event of 1976, let’s read from the “Best Deals Bermuda Bowl”, by Henry Francis and Brian Senior [1999 Five Aces books]:

“Thus ended the 20-year reign of Italy’s Blue Team. For the first time in history, the Blue Team was defeated in a Bermuda Bowl. It was a glorious moment for the North American team and for it’s fan… ” 
The Italian team didn’t win many years longer, but at least remained competitive until 1983, then disappeared from the world stage. They returned to be the protagonist only in the first half of the 90s; in 2005, finally after thirty years, they got again the Bermuda Bowl. 
The return to the victory has to be credited to two people: the industrials Maria Teresa Lavazza – coffee – and Francesco Angelini – pharmaceuticals – which sponsored for their teams, as Ira Corn did for its one, and have enabled our talents to grow and continue the journey interrupted.
Maria Teresa Lavazza wants that Italy would be strong: she wants to win. If she wins, her name will echo in conjunction with the Blue Team name; if Italy loses, she loses too, and with her would lose Angelini as well and we all, the “curiosoni”.

 There is no doubt therefore that the choice has been purely technical, and I add that this: the strongest team isn’t always the one that aligns the strongest pairs. That said, I invite Mrs. Lavazza to assert his right certainly undeniable:  to speak directly to the people.


May 15, 2010


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