17—Pabis-Ticci visited me, and we went fishing in the mountains. As usual, not
one trout would bite, but it was a pleasant trip for we were able to walk in
quiet woods beside foaming torrents talking calmly and at length.
He is quite
determined to retire from competitive bridge and informed me that Forquet,
tired of successes and honors, also refuses to continue the strenuous life that
he has led as a champion for too many years.
Above a certain
level, bridge ceases to be a recreation. For those who become professional
players, time is devoted to bridge in the same way that others devote time to
their work. Hut for amateurs like the members of the Blue Team, who all have
professions which in some cases are very demanding, it is not easy to find time
So the verdict is
definite: at St. Vincent the Blue Team will fight its last battle. Like
Pabis-Ticci and Forquet, I, too, have decided to retire. For the Blue Team and
the World Championship belong to an era that is drawing to an end. Perhaps this
is the result of too many successes: eight World Championships in nine years,
and five European titles.
It is a melancholy
thought that this will he the last time. It took six years to build this team:
I was appointed in 1950, and our first world title was won in 1957. How did I
do it? Good luck and perseverance were needed.
First, I tried to
create a team spirit, to develop a mystique, to establish a legend. Then I was
careful to recruit only players who got along well with each other. There have
been, perhaps, better individual Italian players than some members of the Blue
Team, but I believe that including such a player would have cost us more in
harmony, understanding and unity than we could have gained in technique.
In moments of
crisis—and we had such moments in Como in 1958, in St. Vincent in 1963, as well
as a very black Tuesday in New York in 1959—never a word was spoken that might
have injured either our friendship or our fraternal spirit. When one player
made a historic blunder, I saw, unbelievably, that his partner was trying to
convince the culprit that he would have done exactly the same in his shoes. On
two occasions, in New York 1957 and Buenos Aires 1961, when the title was
virtually won, two pairs urged me to allow the third pair to play the last
session so as to receive the final applause.
ST. VINCENT, APRIL
25—This year five teams are competing: Holland, Thailand, Venezuela, North
America and our Blue Team. The Americans are, in my opinion, the strongest
opposition. There are two exceptional individuals, Mathe and the Canadian
Murray. Each has a perfect partner who is both skillful and disciplined. A
great partnership does not consist of two stars who may tear each other's hair,
but of a star and a second actor.
In addition they
have Rubin and Feldesman, who, to the best of my knowledge, are as good as the
others. This makes up three pairs—not two or one and a half, as on some
previous occasions—that can play as well as the best pairs of the Blue
want to win. We only wish to. This is the Blue Team's mood on the eve of the
Championship. A tired Avarelli is contemplating his imminent promotion to
section president of the county court. Our Walter is a leading figure in the
Italian magistracy, and when he becomes president, bridge will be a pleasant
and distant memory.