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ISRAEL and POLAND, the major forces in youth bridge today, dom­i­nated the field at the 23rd European Youth Team Championships, held in Albena, Bulgaria, 13-23 July 2011.

Israel, the current world youth title holders, are now European Junior champions too, while Poland made the double for the third con­sec­u­tive time: they are European Youngsters and Girls cham­pions, as they were in 2007 and 2009! This year, Israel got the silver medal in the Youngsters, as they did both in the Juniors and Youngsters two years ago!

Other medal winners in Albena were Italy and Denmark (silver and bronze) in the Juniors, Sweden (bronze) in the Young­sters, and The Netherlands and France (silver and bronze) in the Girls.

The 23rd European Youth Team Championships was held in the Albena Resort, near Varna, on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

The event comprised a Junior series (formerly Under-26, for players born in 1986 or later), a Youngsters series (formerly Schools or Under-21, for players born in 1991 or later) and a Girls series (for female players born in 1986 or later). It was open to national teams of the EBL member countries and was organized by the European Bridge League in cooperation with the Bulgarian Bridge Federation.

The Championships are the flagship of the EBL youth programme. It was inaugurated in 1968 in Prague (Juniors only), and since then has been held regularly every two years. The Youngsters (Schools) series was added in 1994 to accommodate younger players coming out of national bridge pro­grammes for school children, while the Girls series (for female Juniors) was inaugurated in 2004. Following Plovdiv '88, this was the second time the European Youth Teams were held in Bulgaria.

The 22nd event of the series was organized in July 2009 in Brasov, Romania. Until Albena, the reigning champions were France in the Junior series and Poland in both Youngsters (Schools) and Girls series.

• For a list of former winners, go to Competitions/Championships and choose European Youth Teams Championships.