The diamond finesse was on, the spades broke favorably and the clubs couldn't possibly be misguessed, so Sweden gained a lucky five IMPs. The Swedes had been doing well in their previous matches, so this swing came at a time when first place was at stake. But Italy won out and the championship moved into its final rounds with all of the leading teams scheduled to play "set-ups" and the result apparently a foregone conclusion.
Then, under the tremendous pressure of those final sessions, things happened. Great Britain was tied by Ireland. (Actually, Britain, out-scored by five points, was lucky to get off with a draw. One more IMP would have given Ireland the win.) Then came a most astonishing result. Little Iceland, which wound up in last place in spite of this stunning reversal, upended Italy! But France, which could have stepped in to win the title, lost to Egypt in an outstanding upset second only to the loss of the Suez Canal.
So it will be Italy once again in the World Championship next February. And Europe's experts have already installed them as top favorites, no matter which team wins the October playoff that will decide who will challenge them for the U.S.
On what I saw at Oslo, I am reluctantly forced to agree with them. And you can be sure this is one prediction on which I am hoping that I will turn out to be as wrong as wrong can be.
One of the most important events at Oslo was the creation of the organization that may prove to be the United Nations of bridge. At a meeting presided over by Baron Robert de Nexon of Paris, president of the European Bridge League, and attended by Charles J. Solomon, president of the American Contract Bridge League, Alvin Landy, the ACBL's executive secretary, Geoffrey Butler of London and W. J. Sullivan of Australia, the foundation was laid for a World Bridge Federation. Your reporter, also among those present, was named one of the founding delegates.
One function of the new organization is the staging of a contest patterned after the Olympic Games. This is planned as a curtain-raiser to the world Olympics of 1960, scheduled for Rome. Alvin Landy has been appointed secretary of the new organization, and the honorary presidency is to be offered to General Alfred M. Gruenther.
Mrs. Vibeke Petersen of Denmark was the only woman to play in the European open. The other ladies were busy with a championship of their own, won by Denmark, with Sweden second and Belgium third.