Open Pair Winners

The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA won the battle of impressions when they shined in the 1st European Open Championship as the only country to win two events. Many times world champions Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell finished well ahead of Birman-Levin of Israel and Chemla-Cronier of France in the Open Pairs championship. At the same time, the Welland squad (Welland R, Henner W C, Levin R, Levin J, Rosenberg M, Rosenberg D) had an easy victory in the Mixed Teams final over Bertheau (Sweden).

FRANCE and ITALY, two of Europe's strongest nations at bridge, shared many honors and practically tied up in the medal positions. Each one won one title and ended up in second and third place several times.

ITALY took the gold medal in the Women Teams with Capriata E, Golin C, Manara G, Ferlazzo C, Buratti M, Forti D and both silver and bronze (together with Denmark) in the Senior Teams. In the Open Teams, Italians (together with Polish players) shared third place, while in the Mixed Pairs they won second and third place.

FRANCE won the title in the Senior Teams thanks to Adad P, Aujaleu M, Lasserre G, Poizat P, Leenhardt F, Levy F and Salliere G, were second in the Open Teams and Senior Pairs, second and third in the Women Pairs and third in the Open Pairs.

THE NETHERLANDS left Menton with a gold medal in the Mixed Pairs won by Bep Vriend and Anton Maas, and a silver medal in the Women Teams. Similarly, POLAND won the Senior Pairs title thanks to Kazimierz Omenik and Jozef Pochron, and finished third in the Senior Pairs and the Open Teams.

Open TeamWinners

ISRAEL made a highly successful appearance in Menton, winning the prestigious Open Teams title with Kalish squad (Kalish A, Podgur L, Herbst I, Herbst O, Yadlin D, Yadlin I) and the silver medal in the Open Pairs, while AUSTRIA's Maria Erhart and Jovanka Smederevac won the Women Pairs.

Other countries in the medal positions were SWEDEN (silver medal in the Mixed Teams, bronze in the Women Teams), DENMARK (bronze medal in Mixed Teams and Senior Teams), SCOTLAND (bronze medals in the Mixed Teams and Women Teams), and finally BRAZIL which won a bronze medal in the Open Teams, thus becoming the only non-European country besides USA to get a medal in Menton.

Complaint hot-email

All in all, the 1st European Open Championship attracted over a thousand players from more than 50 countries, and offered a high-level competition to players and spectators alike. However, the organization was not without problems, and participants suffered from an unusual heat-wave that hit the area. The EBL has setup a complaint hot-email-address, and promised that all complaints will be considered carefully aiming at avoiding mistakes in the second edition.

he 1st EUROPEAN OPEN BRIDGE CHAMPIONSHIPS took place in Menton, on France's celebrated south coast on the Mediterranean, well known as Côte d'Azur, on the second fortnight of June 2003. The competition went underway with an opening ceremony on the evening of Saturday 14 June and was extended through the closing festivities and prize giving ceremony on Saturday 28 June 2003.

This was an entirely new competition that introduced many innovations. For the first time, the EBL opened the way to European medals and distinctions to all players, irrespective of level. Everybody could play in the European Open Championships, without advanced qualification. There were tournaments for every taste: Pairs and Teams, Open to all players or restricted to Women, Seniors and Mixed - and one could choose which to contest. Side events were also planned to take place, according to demand.

The other piece of great news was that the championships were open not only to Europeans but also to players from all over the world. In addition, all events were transnational - that is to say, everybody could play with anybody, without any nationality restrictions.

The EBL looks forward to the European Open, which is to be held in the second half of June every odd-numbered year, becoming a point of reference for bridge worldwide, a major event in which everybody has a place - a great feast of bridge!

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