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An Italian sings the blues
Benito Garozzo
January 23, 1967
The author, ranked by many experts as the world's best bridge player, decries an internal struggle that may break up Italy's famed Blue Team
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January 23, 1967

An Italian Sings The Blues

The author, ranked by many experts as the world's best bridge player, decries an internal struggle that may break up Italy's famed Blue Team

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Neither side vulnerable West dealer

NORTH

[Spade] 7

[Heart] A J 10 9 7 2

[Diamond] 8 7 5 2

[Club] A 5

WEST

EAST

[Spade] 6 2

[Spade] K J 10 9

[Heart] K 8 6 5 3

[Heart] Q

[Diamond] 4

[Diamond] A Q 9 6

[Club] Q J 9 8 3

[Club] 10 7 6 4

SOUTH

[Spade] A Q 8 5 4 3

[Heart] 4

[Diamond] K J 10 3

[Club] K 2

WEST

NORTH

EAST

SOUTH

(Leventritt)

(Forquet)

(Schenken)

(Garozzo)

PASS

2 Heart

DBL.

REDBL.

3 [Club]

PASS

PASS

3 [Spade]

PASS

3 N.T.

PASS

4 [Diamond]

PASS

5 [Diamond]

PASS

PASS

PASS

Opening lead: queen of clubs

Ever since our eighth straight win of the Contract Bridge World Championship in St. Vincent last spring, the members of the Blue Team have been looking forward to our effort to keep the Bermuda Bowl in 1967. But, with sorrow, I must now say that there is a chance the Blue Team will not be playing for Italy in Miami Beach this May.

No, it is not because we are afraid to be beaten or because we want to make sure we retire undefeated. In fact, if my teammates and I do not turn up to defend our title, it will be for just the opposite reason: because we believe that if we are to lose we should do so with the same lineup that has won the World Championship so often.

But when our all-powerful captain, Carlo Alberto Perroux, made his emotion-filled farewell at last year's victory celebration in St. Vincent, he announced that this had been the Blue Team's last appearance, and his own. Apparently he is determined that at least half of this announcement shall come true. Among ourselves, we said then that Perroux was speaking only for himself and that we six good companions would never let the title go unless we were beaten. We felt that when the time came for us to lose, as all teams someday must, we owed it to our opponents to give them the opportunity to say that they had won from the champions—not from some other team—so that the question could never be asked, "Could they have won if the Blue Team had defended?"

But after a new Italian team, with only two members of the Blue Team playing, failed miserably in the European Championship in Warsaw, the new captain, Sergio Osella, resigned, and Perroux was summoned out of his brief retirement to take over once more the job of technical adviser. He is now solely responsible for the selection of our International Team.

This was no great surprise. But, on receipt of the letter from the commisario asking about my availability for the Miami Beach event and for the necessary practice sessions to precede it, I called my partner, Pietro Forquet. From him I learned, to my astonishment, that Perroux intended to make some changes in the team. After much serious consideration, Pietro and I advised our captain that we were available, but only on the condition that the entire Blue Team was selected to compete.

As a team, we have had a storybook success, and there is much more to this than the fact that the team consists of six individual stars, or even three long-practiced partnerships. We have become comrades and friends. When one or another of our players has had a bad streak and felt that, for the good of the team, he should not play, we have never let him remain on the bench. Luck is a fickle lady who smiles tomorrow upon the same person on whom she frowns today.

Perroux himself has remarked on more than one occasion that our indestructible team spirit is one of our most powerful weapons. Why then should he consider taking it away from us by breaking up our team? I do not understand it.

Of course, more than spirit is involved. When you break up long partnerships you lose the advantage of mutual confidence that helps to produce world championship results. I have, for example, always especially liked one deal that Pietro and I played against the Americans in 1965 in Buenos Aires.

When B. Jay Becker and Mrs. Dorothy Hayden held the North-South cards for the U.S., they bid to three spades and congratulated each other on having stopped low enough to avoid disaster—although they did go down one trick for a 50-point loss. But Pietro and I were able to find our way to the game at five diamonds because in our partnership my redouble not only showed a good hand, it also committed us to reaching a game contract if we did not double.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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