Opatija 2010
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Juniors offer first European medal to Greece!
Sweden win Youngsters series; Poland prevail in Girls

Junior Winners, GREECE   Youngsters Winners, SWEDEN   Girls Winners, POLAND
Vassilis VROUSTIS & Dinos DOXIADIS (Greece)   Daniel GULLBERG & Johan KARLSSON (Sweden)   Izabela WEINHOLD & Magdalena HOLEKSA (Poland)

A pair of Greek Juniors, 24-year old Vassilis VROUSTIS and 23-year old Dinos DOXIADIS, offered their country its first ever gold medal in any Euro­pean bridge championship when they won the Junior series of the 10th European Youth Pairs Championships by a narrow margin over runners-up Janis BETHERS (25) and Martins LORENCS (24) of Latvia, and third-placed Joanna TACZEWSKA (23) and Artur Lucasz WASIAK (24) of Poland. The Greek winners did not warn anybody of their eventual success, when they qualified to the semifinals and then to the finals far away from the top. However, they galloped to victory at the right moment, ending the first session in second place; still, they had to fight hard for the title which re­main­ed in doubt until the very last boards! 73 pairs from 22 countries took part in the Junior series.

In the Youngsters series (for players born in 1990 or later), the format was similar. and the title was contested by 44 pairs, representing 16 countries. Here the winners, 19-year old Daniel GULLBERG and 20-year old Johan KARLSSON of Sweden, had a clear lead over two Polish pairs which follow­ed. Roman KOWALEWSKI (18) and Lukasz NIERZWICKI (19) took the silver medal, just fractions ahead of compatriots Maciej BIELAWSKI (20) and just 14-year old Michal KLUKOWSKI!

22 pairs of young ladies, representing 9 countries, contested the Girls series. Here the gold medal went to Poland, thanks to 21-year old Magdalena HOLESKA and 20-year old Izabela WEINHOLD who scored a clear victory over the Czech TICHA sisters, Magdalena (19) and Katerina (21). The bronze medal went to Carole PUILLET and Claire CHAUGNY of France, both 23.

The 10th European Youth Pairs Championships were held in a wonderful venue, Grand Hotel 4 Opatijska Cvijeta, in Opatija, a picturesque maritime resort town in northern Croatia. Under the guiding force of Goran Grguric, the organization left nothing to be desired and fully satisfied the young players who answered the call of the EBL and took part in this year's successful event.

The 10th European Youth Pairs Championships were held at the Grand Hotel 4 Opatijska Cvijeta, in Opatija, Croatia, on 14-17 July 2010.

The European Youth Pairs Championships were launched in 1991 in Fiesch, Switzerland. The competition, open to all EBL member countries, was designed to be a massive event, addressing all levels of players except the very weak ones. Transnational combinations were allowed. The tour­nament was played in four sessions, all with the barometer system (whereby running results are instantly available). The EBL kept its sole auspices of the Championship until the 2nd edition held in Oberreifenberg, Germany, two years later.

In 1995, and in compliance with the EBL, the 3rd edition of the competition was taken over by the WBF and thus became a natural supplement of the WBF youth programme which already included the World Youth Teams for the Ortiz-Patiño Trophy. Now open to all WBF member countries, the event continued as a world competition, incorporating the corresponding European competition. for over a decade. In 2006, a separate Schools series was added for the first time. Both series were open to transnational pairs.

However, the 2006 competition was also the last of the series of the World Youth Pair Championships organized by both the WBF and EBL. In all these years, the World Youth Pair Championships were conveniently held in conjunction with the World Junior Camp on consecutive dates and at the same or nearby places.

As from the 9th edition of the competition, held in Wroclaw, Poland, in 2008, the European Youth Pairs Championships were disassociated from the corresponding World competition and again restricted to European players only. At the same time, a new series was added, for female young play­ers, the 'Girls'. The format of the tour­na­ment was also changed, hereafter allowing national pairs only. Depending on the number of participants, the various series were to be played throughout or in separate stages (qualifying, semifinal, final), with barometer scoring applying to the final stage.

• For a complete list of the previous events, their venues and winners, click here.
• To see the reigning champions, click here to go to the 6th World Youth Pairs Championships website.

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