Debora, at the end of the second session of the final, you were in second place, just a hair’s breadth below the first pair: there was great enthusiasm for you and Marco Parrella. I even tried to bribe the organizers asking them to close the championship then, but I didn’t manage to do it!
Aside from jokes, let’s start from the beginning. How did you get to Philadelphia?
We got there in a very casual way, first of all because Marco is not my usual partner in mixed pairs. But the Italian Federation offered the possibility to finance some pairs through the simultaneous tourneys and we took advantage of it. The first selection in fact was through the simultaneous tournaments and since I live in Nice it wasn’t possible for me to play with my mixed pairs partner, Massimo Moritsch, who lives in Belluno. The geographic distance didn’t permit us to play the simultaneous tourneys together. But finally I qualified with Marco Parrella who lives in Bordighera, really in quite an improbable way. I say this because we were 30 positions below the qualification required to enter the final in Bologna at the end of June. However many players dropped out and in spite of the distance of 30 positions, we were promoted.
You got to Philadelphia in an improbable way and then, did you ever imagine that you would find yourself just a hair’s breadth from the top of the classification, at only one session before the end?
Obviously no. You can never imagine something like that beforehand. And then when it did happen I didn’t believe it. At that point it was necessary to keep our feet on the ground and try not to panic. But then we entered the third and final round of the final with a shower of zero points …
Let’s go back to the second session, the one where at the end you had 59.13 against 59.46 of the first pair. How did that session go?
In reality that was the session where I did something indescribable, and in fact I won’t tell you about it. An enormous error and not only that, I thought about it first. I made the worst mistake of the whole championship, in fact we were at 62% and precisely against Fulvio Fantoni, on the last board, I did this thing which can’t be recounted because it has no logical explanation … save me from telling you about it.
Thank goodness you did this indescribably silly thing against our Fulvio, then …
Yes, with Fulvio I even joked and I wrote to him in Facebook, “Better you than another”! But it’s certain that without that hand, probably our positions would have been reversed between us and them in that session. In fact it was an absolute zero. As I told you we were almost at 62% before the last two hands. At the end of the session we had dropped to a bit more than 58%, which averaged with the first session gave us a final score of 59.13%. Just think, in that particular session we had a contested hand also with Donna and Fulvio.
Will you tell us about it?
Yes. Donna Compton didn’t understand an explanation given in English by my companion. The situation is the following: Fulvio opens 1NT and Marco interferes with 2 clubs for the majors. Naturally I alerted this correctly to Fulvio. On the other side of the divider Donna looked at the convention card and Marco said “majors” in English, which however Donna heard as “natural”. At this point I bid 2 diamonds (my hand is almost zero points and 3-3 in the majors). Fulvio doubles (he has 5 diamonds headed by an honour), my partner bids 2 hearts preferential, and Donna comes up with quite a strange bid, 2 spades with this hand: 8xxx Kx Jxxxx xxx. On this bid Fulvio closes at 3NT, and the contract goes down one. The hand brings us to about 63%. After the tourney Fulvio comes back to us and asks us to explain things with the tourney director. In effect Fulvio had asked Donna why she had bid those strange 2 spades and she had replied that she had understood my partner’s reply after interference as “natural” and therefore interpreted Fulvio’s double as a request for majors. However the Director supported us and didn’t change the score.
Well, aside from objections and silly mistakes the final results arrive and you are second, before the last session: we find Fantoni in sixth position but that’s no news; on the other hand we find you two outsides n second place and we were all euphoric here in Italy.
You can imagine how we were!
Tell us about the third and final session.
We started with an indescribable shower of zero’s, a tragedy. After the sixth hand we were around 25%, then things started to go a bit better and we recovered a bit reaching 50%. But we never returned to where we were also due to the excellent defence of the opponents in the last two hands.
Maybe you were a bit too emotional?
I became emotional playing against Fantoni, even though I know him and he never makes you feel ill at ease; Fulvio in fact is always very correct and calm. But when I played against him I became very emotional. I don’t know why, my brain just gelled.
Other players whom you met who impressed you?
Bob Levine impressed me because of his extreme nervousness. I met him twice, he was always very agitated, jumpy, angry and poisonous.
As regards the other Italians on the other hand, I would say that Capriata and Masucci were also very good.
Not also, but above all, Emanuela Capriata and Nino Masucci were very good. Whoever arrived ahead of us was better than we were. Very good, they played an excellent final session.
Are you happy that an Italian won?
Certainly, I am very happy for Fulvio.
Besides the jet lag, what also remains with you after this championship?
A dream that was about to be realized but then remained a dream. There is some happiness for having played well but also the feeling of having thrown away an enormous chance and for this reason Marco and I were very sorry. Emotion played a large part, you don’t realize it but sometimes you’re not lucid and you don’t have the tranquillity to give your best. In fact after having undergone the first series of zero’s, thinking that we had no more chance, I really calmed down and played very well, even according to my partner.
Do you still have a bitter taste in your mouth?
Yes. But Dano de Falco’s encouraging words gave us a lot of pleasure, he said, “don’t worry, you’re young and you’ll get another chance.” But I don’t think another occasion like this will happen very easily.
Well I hope that you get another even better occasion Debora!
by Laura Camponeschi, translated by Carol Sims
October 9, 2010