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The “Standard BBO Italia” System by Mario Martinelli (1)

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 Mario Martinelli is a Neapolitan excellent player and accredited bridge teacher. He is an expert about systems and he developed the system “Standard BBO Italia”. The last version of it (2012) can be browsed on Vincenzo delle Cave’s BBO Italia website. Mario is also the nephew of Eugenio Chiaradia, the creator of the Neapolitan Club, a system which our magazine is dedicated to. Neapolitan Club will publish a summary of the system developed by Martinelli both in Italian and in English. In todays’ article we publish the introduction written by Fulvio Fantoni. In the incoming days we will publish a 13 bullet points summary and two long excerpts on general topics, that concern rules of bidding logic: Sputnik double and Jump shift responses.


by Fulvio Fantoni

The introduction to the first edition of Standard BBO Italia ends like this: “In the end, even though we focused on the technical details of the system and its power, we tried to achieve another important purpose: players’ enjoyment and peace.” I am happy to see that the new edition of Mario Martinelli’s system complies with these two purposes as well.

Mario, an accredited teacher, inherits the passion for the game and a rigorous approach to bidding logic from his uncle Chiaradia. In 2005 he accepts to build for BBO Italia a natural system suitable to play online. Now, after gaining experience from playing online, he writes a new version.

From a technical point of view BBOITA is aimed at a wide number of players, but competent ones. It is based on the system most Italians are familiar with (short club and strong NT). Other technical choices have been made following popular and world-known trends, that are not only solid from a theoretical point of view, but also proven to be right by computer simulations which confirm their statistical efficacy.

The hard task for Mario was to blend the Italian style with the American standard, in order to offer online players not only a single system, but also a base on which they could add their favorite conventions and sequences (which Italians love). Well, Mario succeeded in this task: his work has all these features and allows all BBO players to share the emotion bridge gives us with a higher degree of expertise.

BBOITA is special not only thanks to its technical features: Mario shows to be an experienced teacher when he describes the system in a way which is accessible even to the least experienced players. The system contains clear explanations not only about topics concerning basic bidding techniques (e.g. the chapter on opener’s reverse will be useful to many), but also, on occasions, about why some choices have been made above others equally reasonable.

To sum up, I think BBOITA is not aimed at players with a specific level of expertise, but rather at all players who want to play a well-structured and yet easy-to-learn system, with awareness, and the possibility to adjust its complexity to one’s own abilities.

In the times where online bridge extremely speeds the game up, thus encouraging inaccurate bidding, I think this system is an important achievement.


Standard BBO Italia by Mario Martinelli – English edition by Laura Cecilia Porro for Neapolitan Club.

 February 10, 2012


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