Antonio Palma is a Portuguese professional bridge player and one of the best in his country. He has taken part in major bridge events with Team Ventin and the Portuguese national team over the last few years. He is also a big fan of challenges on Funbridge. We had the opportunity to meet him and he kindly accepted to answer our questions about his career in the bridge world.
What is your history with bridge?
Antonio Palma: At the age of 13 I went to bridge classes given by a maths teacher in my home town Évora. After that I never quit bridge!
I am a member of the biggest club in Portugal, Centro de Bridge de Lisboa, and it’s where I mostly play in Portugal.
I play some competitions in Portugal, not as many as I want but I try to play as many as I can.
You play many tournaments with your team Ventin. Can you tell us more about it? We are disappointed that you don’t participate in NABCs. Why is that?
Antonio Palma: Yes. I’m having a great time with the team, especially with Mr Ventin because he is a wonderful person and he gives me the opportunity to have a bridge career and that’s very difficult nowadays.
This year we will play in Atlanta, but Ventin doesn’t like the schedule in America so we don’t come that much.
Before being part of Team Ventin, I played some NABCs in Connie Goldberg’s team. And because of that, I know NABCs very well and I love to play them.
I’ll try to come more often 🙂
It seems that you like challenges on Funbridge, especially those against our AI “Argine”. Indeed, so far, you have 95 wins to your credit and you are one of the very few to have a positive ratio out of nearly 200 challenges played! What is your secret and why do you particularly like this game mode?
Antonio Palma: I like this game mode because it is very challenging. Argine rarely makes mistakes and if I don’t play my A game, I lose for sure.
When I play with friends, sometimes I play in a lazy way and it has no consequences, but when I play against Argine, if I make mistakes, the robot makes me pay for these errors.
You also have a team for the Team Championship held on Funbridge. Who is part of it?
Antonio Palma: The team is made up of my Portuguese friends. They are all good players. They are usually part of the Portuguese team in European Championships.
Funbridge and the FPB recently became partners. You played the first tournament. What was your result? What do you think of these new tournaments?
Antonio Palma: I did very bad, I don’t remember the exact %, but probably slightly above the average.
I like the competition, I like the idea of playing bridge in the comfort of my home.
Portugal is a country where there is a lack of “top players”. Do you believe that online bridge can help countries that are less “bridge-enthusiastic” produce champions?
Antonio Palma: Of course online bridge will reduce the gap between top nations and others, but we need more time to see the results.
The biggest issue in Portugal is that top players don’t want to improve. They don’t want to leave their comfort zone, so they don’t improve, be it in competitive auction or card play.
Which advice would you give to people willing to start playing bridge? Do you believe that it is easy to learn how to play?
Antonio Palma: It’s hard to learn how to play. You will get very frustrated in the beginning because of bad results and so on, but the way to improve is to study and practice. If you do that, you will achieve your objectives.
And which advice would you give to more advanced bridge players willing to improve their skills? Can Funbridge meet their expectations?
Antonio Palma: Funbridge is a very good tool for an expert to improve, especially for declarer’s play. You can challenge great players and you can learn with them and from the way they play.
What is your nickname on Funbridge? Can we invite our readers to challenge you?
Antonio Palma: My nickname is apalma, of course everybody can invite me. I’d love to have tight matches.
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