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Valerio Giubilo – Portrait of an Italian Top Player

Posted on 03 February 2011

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 The Franco-Polish financier Romain Zaleski is today the third major sponsor of Italian bridge, the only one that seems able to compete with the two historic giants of professional Italian bridge, Angelini and Lavazza. Zaleski recently hired three top Italian players, who had previously played for the Angelini team: Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace and Valerio Giubilo. Their official debut in Italy last December laid down the gauntlet by winning the prestigious Italian Cup.

The upcoming Spring Championship is widely anticipated where the Zaleski’s team is seen as one of the favourites to reach the final. The figure of Giubilo is seen as a major figure in the composition of the new team: Zaleski will play with Versace and Giubilo will partner with Lauria. This line-up is only possible because Giubilo, Lauria and Versace are completely interchangeable as team mates, as they have been playing the same system for a number of years. Valerio Giubilo is a well-known face in national and international bridge circles: here is a short profile.

  Valerio begins to take his first steps on the green baize in the early 1980s, at small bridge club in Rome, the Doubleton. Here he begins a partnership with one of the best bridge master in the capital, Tonino Cangiano. Valerio and Tonino worked hard on the Kaplan-Sheinwold, the US system created during the late 50’s and early 60’s. He came to understand the intricate details of this natural but profound system that would serve him well over the years to come.

  With his team Valerio garnered many important results, but the leap came at the turn of the century where he won the Italian Open Pairs Championship with Guido Bonavoglia, his major partner up to 2005.

Since then his ascent has been rapid. In partnership with Alfredo Versace he has participated in several U.S. Nationals enjoying good results. He often played, with Alfredo, in the Garozzo team, Benito partnering Dano de Falco. The Garozzo team was always invited to the most famous bridge tournament in China, the Jeh Bros, where it always gain the podium.

  It was inevitable, that the great sponsor of Roman bridge, Angelini, would take notice. At the behest of Versace and Lauria, he engaged Giubilo to complete a team that was to be a true juggernaut and go on to write a significant chapter in the history of Italian bridge, the sextet of Angelini, Giubilo, Fantoni, Nunes, Versace, Lauria in 2009 won all competitions: the Spring Team Championships, Italian Cup, Italian Club Team Championship and finally the European Champions Cup.

It was then that Giubilo began to partner Lauria, he can also play with Versace. The three have adapted and developed a unique bidding system, any change, alteration or update is agreed upon unanimously by the “triad”. The threesome often congregate to discuss their system on which they continue to work on in an almost maniacal fashion. In addition to working on it to solve any possible deficiencies, they change, from time to time, some of the sequences so as not to be too easily recognised by the opposition.

  Gianluca Gentili (Gluck), one of the Neapolitan Club contributors, has a deep friendship with Giubilo, that’s why we asked him to tell us something about this top Italian player.

  “The underlying qualities of Valerio’s approach” our Gluck tells us “is from a strong technical grounding in the game. In my opinion, he always displays excellent technique in all aspects of the game, and has a super temperament, remaining unflustered at the table.

 You have to consider his qualities as an individual, a man who has helped popularise this game of ours. Many seek out his opinion on how a hand should be declared. He has lent support to many pairs of differing standards and using his many connections to help bring players along that most treacherous path, that of tournament bridge. I cannot deny that his help was and is still essential for me and my partner, so I have baptised Valerio as our official coach.

 Despite being known and accepted by all, Giubilo is not what you might call a ‘character’. This is becaused of his somewhat shy and reserved nature, he tends not to occupy the limelight, and this quality often shows in his playing style, using solid technique rather than playing to the gallery to affect a brilliancy. Looking at his results it is difficult to argue with his approach.

 Although Valerio plays ‘professional’ bridge, he can only be considered as ‘a semi-professional’, because he spends most of his time with his family and his professional commitments outside of the game. Despite having already scaled the highest peaks in bridge, he has not lost his humility and his desire to improve, things that will definitely enable him to overcome the future challenges that bridge will present”.

A long interview to Valerio Giubilo will be published  soon on Neapolitan Club.


by Laura Camponeschi & Gianluca Gentili

February 03, 2011

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