Tonči Radelja Memorial: BBO InterCity League

The 35th edition of the Tonči Radelja Memorial – BBO InterCity League (Tonči Radelja ICL) will start on Wednesday 3rd March 2021; it will be played each week and always on Wednesday, but on 21st April; the final will be played on Wednesday 2nd June 2021.

The Tonči Radelja ICL is the international online team championship established in 2004 by the late Tonči Radelja, a Croatian professor of mathematics who loved the Bridge and used it as a medium to become friends. So wrote Tonči several years ago:

“Think of this as a night in your local club: be friendly and enjoy meeting old/new friends at the table”.

Thereby, being friendly to our partner and to opponents is the first and most important victory we can get.

The frequency of the championship is twice-a-year, starting in the first Wednesday of March and October, and lasting three months. Today, the tourney is being ran by Enrico Paolo Garrisi and Willem Mevius; the latter is also the web master of the site. The participation is free, and the prizes are the greatest: they are our fun and the opponents’ esteem for our sportsmanship.

For the registration it suffices to send

– The name of the team. It must be the name of a town, no matter how small.

 – The name of the captain (BBO’s and real name), and their email.

The first edition was won by Beograd; the most rewarded team is the Italian Ascoli Piceno, eight times winner; the title holder is the Italian Cefalù, which in final defeated the Egyptian El Alamein. In the past edition, eighty-eight teams have played from twenty-nine countries in Europe and Africa.

The matches are self-ran by the captains. The captain of the “home team” will set up the match and will report the result by email and with the link to the hands played. The format is by round robin round and knock-out stages. The teams are divided in groups; the best ones of each group, usually about 50 per cent of the participants, will advance to the knock-out stage.

There aren’t limits to the number of players: each captain can line up as many players as he likes, but players that haven’t played the round robins shouldn’t be employed in the knock-out stage, unless the team couldn’t complete the foursome.

The mandatory playing time is on Wednesday at 20:45-21:00 pm CET (London Time +1), unless both captains agree for different time or day; but displacements only should be done exceptionally.

About the playing timetable: some specifications

The normal playing time is 20.45 – 21.00 in Central Europe Time (CET), whatever be solar time or Daylight Saving Time. It implies that:

  • If two teams are in different time zones, one in Central Europe, the other outside it, the normal starting time remains. For example, an Italian and an Egyptian team have to play at 21.00 CET.
  • If two teams are in different non-CET zones, the starting time is to be at 21.00 of the zone closer to Central Europe and after that. For example, if the team A is in CET+1 zone, and B is in CET+2 or later, the starting time will be 21.00 of the local A’s zone. If the team A is in CET-1 (in British Isles, for example, or in Portugal), and B in CET+1 or later, the starting time will be 21.00 CET.
  • If two teams are in the same non-CET zone, they have to play at 21.00 in their local time.

In the round robin the matches will be exactly by sixteen boards; In the final stage the matches will be exactly by twenty-four. By default, the barometer is off, but can be on by captains’ agreement. The undo is on, but concede it only for true misclick; the distraction is a technical mistake which has to be paid for. In doubt, it’s strongly advised to concede the undo, and after the match to inform us of the issue.

The kibitzer must be allowed, but silent. About this matter, read the anti-cheating policy after the paragraph System Policy.

System policy

Whatever system we’re playing, it mustn’t be forgotten that the first requisite of a bidding system isn’t to get better contracts, but to make itself clear to opponents by concise and accurate alerts and a plain Convention Card. If a system does fail to do this, it’s sure a wrong one, and no tourney in the World can allow it. In particular, aren’t allowed systems which require that opponents have to study them earlier, such as High Unusual Method (HUM) and Brown stickers. Also are forbidden systems with conventional one-level openings by less than 11 HCPs, or natural one-level openings by less than 8.

Aren’t forbidden:

  • Natural suit opening, that is 1C, 1D, 1H, 1S, in the range 8-10 HCPs by at least four cards in the named suit;
  • Conventional Strong Club or Strong Diamond and their conventional responses and rebidding;
  • 8-10 HCPs 1NT opening (so called mini 1NT), with balanced hand;
  • Psychics. But frequent psychics are forbidden;
  • Multicolor and other conventional two-level openings.

Anti-cheating policy

During the match, it’s strictly forbidden to consult our Convention Card and our notes on our system. We know that some big online Organisations are allowing it on the ground that “…Being impossible to check it, let’s allow it…”. It’s a mistake; there are marks, like wrong alerts, suspicious undoes and slowness in bidding, which reveal the violation.

Don’t talk to your partner privately or to a kibitzer, but allow the kibitzers. The Tŏnci Radelja Memorial should remain what it was intended to be: a competition between friends. An opportunity to play matches with other friendly players. We do not want people to look for possible cheating in every hand. We definitely don’t want to limit kibitzing, as it is part of the fun. Furthermore, in IMP team matches, which require far greater technique than MP pair tourneys (Eric Rodwell, Bob Hamman, and many others say it), it is virtually impossible to cheat without being detected; it’s only a matter of time.

We study many hands even without allegations, and we take any allegations of cheating seriously, and we do analyse all hands. If we find evidence of foul play we will report it to BBO and to the competent national bridge organisation, besides ruling out the team.

About this matter, it must be known the news brought in on 27th November of the past year. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) and the European Bridge League (EBL) have stated their jurisdiction on the online bridge, and have stated that also the National Bridge Organisations (NBOs) are competent. Italy, England, France, and other Countries have already ruled accordingly.

What’s changing for us? It’s simple: before, the NBOs couldn’t do nothing but frown at reading our allegations; since now, they will take action.

Read the new WBF’s Law, especially the art. 4.1. and its comment: click here »

For any question contact Turbin or Willemm (BBO nicknames of Paolo Enrico Garrisi and Willem Mevius), or write to Garrisi at

ICL Official Site (ran by Willem Mevius) »



Paolo Enrico Garrisi

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