Tignes Winter Games

In a continuation of the Winter Games organised by the European Bridge League in Monaco and then in Tignes, a prestigious trial will take place in France, coming up from the 15th to 21st April: the first European Winter Transnational Championships. This competition will take place in Alpe d’Huez, a famous ski resort also known for its often decisive stage in the Tour de France.

This article will be updated regularly during the competition so that you can follow Team Funbridge’s progress day by day, so don’t hesitate to check back from time to time. To follow the results and rankings live, click here!


The European Winter Transnational Championships

Day 1: Team Funbridge is back

Day 2: Team Funbridge is still in the race!

Day 3: Last day of the Swiss qualification

Day 4: First day of the knockouts

Day 5: A little bit of luck

Day 6: A tough day for both teams

Day 7: A day of lost chances

The European Winter Transnaional Championships

5 April by Pierre Bedouet

The Winter Transnational Championships follow a classic format with two days of qualifiers in a round-robin, where one must finish in the top 32 in order to have any hope of reaching the final knockout stages.

A second event, the Étincelles Bam Trophy, will be held just after the round-robin for the eliminated teams. This will also gather the teams who fall out of the final knockout stages along the way. The Étincelles Bam Trophy offers a tantalising prize of 6000 euros for the winners!

Last year, the Orca team ‒ composed of Erik Berg, Peter Crouch, Richard Plackett, Espen Erichsen and the Rimstedt brothers ‒ won the main event.

The Multon team of Franck Multon, Kiki Ward-Platt, Giovanni Donati, Giacomo Percario, Nikos Delimpaltadakis and Vassilis Vroustis won the silver medal.

We also recognise the lovely performance by a French contingent who won the bronze medal, the Vinciguerra team, composed of Hervé Vinciguerra, Philippe Soulet, Thomas Bessis and Cédric Lorenzini. 

Team Funbridge at the event!

This year, 41 teams are signed up for the first Winter Transnational Championships. The best players on the planet will be at the event, including the Swiss team holding the world-champion title.

We can also mention the presence of a French team, including two pairs who will be participating in the European Championships in Denmark: Léo Rombaut (Team Funbridge) and Jérôme Rombaut, along with Baptiste Combescure and Pierre Franceschetti. The team is completed by Nao Tabata and Maxence Fragola, members of the French Junior team.

What’s more, a large contingent of members of Team Funbridge will be participating in this event and you can follow their journey throughout the week of competition here in this article (which will be updated regularly).

Here is the list of members taking part: Christian Lahrmann, Nicolai Hieberg-Evenstad, Andreas Abragi, Finn Kolesnik, Federica Dalpozzo, Valentina Dalpozzo, Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu. And two new members whose identities you will discover soon!

An unmissable competition for bridge fans in the magnificent French Alps, with coverage that promises to be rich in interesting games and captivating anecdotes directly from the venue of the event!

Team Funbridge

Day 1: Team Funbridge is back

15 April by Team Funbridge

After some missed flights and trains, and some long rides with a big time difference, both teams started well. Team Funbridge Blue (Andreas, Christian, Nicolai, Olivia and Finn) started with a four imp win against Mavericks and Team Funbridge Pink (Sofie, Federica, Valentina and Margaux) won by 26 imp against Nikos. 

Andreas, Christian, Nicolai and Finn
Andreas, Christian, Nicolai and Finn

The Blue met Ogama for the second match and won again with +24 imp ! On the other side, the Pink team lost by six against the team Bici. 


Andreas had a nice play in 5CX. Auction:

Andreas received the ace of diamonds lead, and South continued with the jack of diamonds. North overtook and played a low diamond back. Now, he can make the contract if North started with JT or JTx of clubs. From the auction, North must be very unbalanced. Because of this, Andreas decided that North must be short in clubs and therefore cannot have JT of clubs. He made a safety play for this layout and pitched a spade! If he ruffed the diamond, South would overruff and he would have an unavoidable diamond loser. But here, South was forced to ruff so he could now draw trump and ruff his last diamond loser for -1. A gutsy play to get rid of his chance to make it, but a good one!

The third match was difficult for both Funbridge teams : the Pink team were defeated by 57 imp and the Blue team by 21 when they played the team of Thomas Bessis and Cedric Lorenzini

For the last match of the first day, it’s a victory for the Pink : 15 imp against Bridgescanner. 

The Blue lost by 7 against France Green, the team with two open pairs : Baptiste Combescure, Pierre Franceschetti, Léo with Jérôme Rombaut and Nao Tabata, Maxence Fragola who are part of the U26 France team. 

Olivia and Margaux
Girls dinner with Jérôme’s dog, Thams !

We come back in the cottage to have dinner with the Funbridge members. When it is pasta for dinner, it means the Italians make it !

The last world

This was a really good first day for all! Tomorrow, the Funbridge teams will face each other in the first match. The most important match for everyone!


Day 2: Team Funbridge is still in the race!

18 April by Team Funbridge

The Funbridge teams faced each other: Valentina and Federica vs Andreas and Finn at one table, Sofie and Margaux vs Christian and Nicolai on the other side.

A deal played by Margaux: 

Christian opens 3S in third hand in West and Sofie shows a minor two-suiter of at least 5-5 with the 4NT bid. I have to choose a minor and bid 5D. 

Christian leads the Ace of Spades and returns a heart. So, I lost one spade trick and I count one heart loser as well as one club trick since I am missing the Ace in the suit. But the lead of the Ace of Spades can allow me to take a ruffing finesse against the King. If I play the Queen from my hand and he doesn’t play the King, I discard my heart. If he does play the King, I ruff and go get my master Jack of Spades later.

All right, but how?

I start by cashing the Ace of Diamonds. Everyone follows suit. If the opponents’ Diamonds are 2-2, no problem: Ace of Diamonds, a diamond to my Jack and a ruffing finesse in Spades. I have all the necessary entries.

But if Diamonds are 3-1, I must not draw three rounds of trumps: by ending up in my hand in South, I will then take the ruffing finesse in Spades (Queen covered by the King and ruffed in dummy) and my only entry to my master Jack is in Trumps, so I will have no more trump left and the Ace of Clubs (with all the winning hearts!) will be out. 

So, I return a diamond to my Jack to see what the cards look like. I see that West is singleton in the suit and that there are three trumps on my right. My only option is to hope that Christian bid 3S with only six cards: then I can take my ruffing finesse without risking being ruffed (if ever Christian plays small on my Queen) and go get the Jack by drawing the last trump if Christian covers! 

Chistian had only six cards in Spades indeed and I have been able to make 5D. 

The full deal:

Team Funbridge Blue won the match with +8. They lost their next match by 12 imp that they got back in their third match. They ended the day with a 21-imp win, taking the 14th place of the competition at the time of writing.

The Pink team had a rough day: 1-imp loss in matches #2 and #3 followed by a 15-imp loss in their final match of the day. But the qualification stage is still on! 

“Today was a good day. We are now 14th and in the game for Thursday. 💪🏻 Team Pink had a lot of close matches and have to do some work tomorrow. We all believe in them. 🤞🏻”


Crédit @European Bridge League
Crédit @European Bridge League
Crédit @European Bridge League
Crédit @European Bridge League
Crédit @European Bridge League

Day 3: Last day of the Swiss qualification

19 April by Team Funbridge

Today was a very important day in the Winter Games, as it was the last day of the Swiss qualification. The top 16 of the 47 teams qualify to the knockouts. Team Funbridge Blue started the day in 14th, and Team Funbridge Pink had some more work to do.

Funbridge Blue started the day against Team Black, a pro team from England and Sweden. They won a toughly fought match by 6 IMPs. Funbridge Pink had an unfortunate set against Team IMP Machine from England, and lost big. 

The pressure stayed on for Funbridge Blue, who were now in 14th with 3 matches to go. With no room for a bad match, they faced Team K3A, a strong American team. A few vulnerable game swings helped the team win by 13, moving the team up to 10th. Funbridge Pink dominated the second match against Team HKAB, winning by 36 IMPs. 

Funbridge Blue now faced another challenge in the star studded Team Scorway from Scotland, Norway, and England. Another close match ended in Funbridge Blue’s favour, and the team won by 5 IMPs. This brought the team up to 9th, a good spot to be in, but the fight to qualify was not over – the difference between 9th and 17th was less than 6 victory points! Funbridge Pink had a tough match against Team Apex Club, and lost by 13 IMPs.

In the last match, Funbridge Blue faced Team Jinshou from China. The boards were extremely swingy, and many IMPs were available for both sides. The team managed to take an 11 IMP win, ending the day in 8th. Funbridge Pink ended the day with a 26 IMP win against Team Vicuna, a pro team. A nice end to the day for both squads!

Tomorrow, Funbridge Blue will play Team Black (Andrew Black, David Gold, Simon Hult, Peter Berthau, Peter Fredin, and Andrew Macintosh). Spirits are high, and the team is feeling confident. Team Pink will play the Board-A-Match, and is excited to welcome a new member: Romaric Guth. It was a good day, except Nicolai is quite sad about Manchester City’s loss in the Champions League. We are hoping to cheer him up with a win tomorrow!

Margaux played 5 Diamonds in South. She got the Ace of Spade lead, and then a switch to Hearts, to 8, 10 and Ace. She now drew the trumps and played three rounds of clubs, discarding her spade in hand and then ruffed a spade. She is now left with: 

She now played a diamond to the Queen, and played her last club and discarded her heart. West was now end played and had to play a spade or a club to a ruff and sluff, and she made her contract. Well played. 

Day 4: First day of the knockouts

19 April by Team Funbridge

Thursday was the first day of the knockouts. Unfortunately, Team Funbridge Pink did not make it, and they were playing BAM. The team was complemented with Romaric Guth, who will step in when Margaux has to leave. The first set started with lots of different scores. Of the first 18 boards, there was only one score that was the same at both tables. Luckily, there were more plus scores than minus, and Pink were second going to lunch.

A good start was celebrated with crepes, but that took longer than expected and the team got an exercise running back to the playing area, sitting down exactly at starting time. The crepes were not as much help as we hoped, so the two last sessions were just below average, but with a good first set we are still one point above average. Tomorrow will be the second day of the qualification, where we have to be top 18 to qualify for the A semifinals, we are currently 14th, but might drop a few spots when the teams from the knockouts come in.

Team Funbridge Blue had an exciting day, playing the knockouts. They got 8th in the qualification, but because of few seeding points, they got Team Black, who finished 5th. However, they were still confident that they could win the match if they played well. After the first set Funbridge was 14 imps behind, and then they won by two imps. So they went to lunch with 12 imps to catch up. After lunch they had a good set, which they won with 30 imps, so they went into the last set with an 18-imp lead. The first two boards of the set were 13 each time to Funbridge, and they were suddenly 44 imps ahead. Unfortunately, bridge can turn around quickly, and Black had some good boards. With three boards to go Funbridge was 5 imps ahead. There was not a lot of action on the last three boards, but they lost 3, 4 and 4 imps. Leading to 143-149, a very close match, where they lost by only 6 imps. It is always difficult to lose a match so close, because everyone feels like they could have done something differently. The team played well, but it was not enough this time, so Team Funbridge Blue will also play the BAM tomorrow. Will we get a new match between Blue and Pink, and if so, who will win this time?

Day 5: A little bit of luck

23 April by Team Funbridge

Today both teams played the BAM. Team Blue finished 16th, qualifying for the A semi-finals. Team Pink made it more exciting by ranking 19th, with 18 teams qualifying. Luckily for them, one of the teams from the quarter-finals did not want to play, so they also qualified. Both Funbridge teams thus qualified for the A semi-finals and will play against each other tomorrow. Team Pink will get a chance to take their revenge. The goal for both teams tomorrow will be to qualify for the A final.

We think that Sofie’s partners are the slowest players on the team, especially after looking at her score card. Margaux and Romaric are having a competition on who will be the slowest and quickest. If you ask their regular partners, everyone will say that Romaric is the slowest, but here Margaux is by far in the lead.

Day 6: A tough day for both teams

23 April by Team Funbridge

Today was a tough day for both teams, which were not even close to qualifying for the BAM final. However, there were some fun boards, such as this one.

Your partner opened natural weak 2D, you jumped to 4H, the next player bid 4S., all pass. Now you were hoping for a diamond lead from Partner, but instead he led the 3 of Hearts, which is 3rd/5th, and Dummy showed up with two small hearts.

So, you won trick one with the Jack and Declarer followed with a low heart. You now wanted a diamond ruff and you knew Partner only had one heart, so instead of taking your trick, you forced him to be in by playing the 9 of Hearts.

He had to ruff and switched to a diamond.

Here is the whole hand:

Since the Ace of Spades was in Dummy and the Queen of Clubs behind AK, it went down two.

After playing, the team went back to the flat where Federica and Andreas had a cooking contest. They made pasta with the same ingredients but very different results.

After some people flip-flopped on the winner’s name, the Swede finally beat the Italian. Whilst they were cooking, Sofie and Olivia were having fun playing with the food.

Tomorrow is the last day. Both teams will play Final B of the BAM.

Day 7: A day of lost chances

30 April by Team Funbridge

After a tough second to last day both teams were playing the B final of the BAM the last day. We were looking into the option of changing the teams around for fun, but landed on the fact that pink needed one more chance to beat the blue. 

Pink started well and after the first round they were in the lead, and fighting for the nice prizes. After the first set pink were one point ahead of blue, with 16 and 15 points, out of a maximum of 30, so just average. However, it was still possible for both teams to climb to the podium. When pink started the second and last set of the tournament with a bye, blue saw their chance to climb ahead of pink. Blue stayed ahead, but with one board to go blue were only 0.4 points ahead. Would pink finally get their chance to beat blue? And could any of them get on the podium?

Pink needed a board with some action to catch up, and they got as they wished.

Blue started with a 1-1 with 500 in 1S doubled on both tables in their match. So pink could get ahead if they won the board on their table. Sofie also bid 1S in north, but the opponents decided not to double her, and Sofie and Romaric had -460 on their table. They finished first in their team and went upstairs to check the results. Top three was no longer possible, but the important fight against blue could still be won. However the score on the other table was +400 in 5D, so it was a lost board, and blue could claim the victory again. Blue was unfortunately just behind the podium, so there was no prize for any of the Funbridge teams this time, but we congratulate Team Funbridge Blue with victory over Team Funbridge Pink in all the competitions. Pink promise to come back stronger next time!

Since the B final was only two sets, and most of the players were not leaving until the day after, they had some time to kill. Some of the players started with the board game Cluedo, but in French and with some pronunciations the French players in the team would not be proud of. However, that did not take much time, so after some suitcases were dropped down the staircase (on accident if you were wondering) and some cleaning, there were still hours before we were planning on going to bed. So what do bridge players do after a week of playing? Well we do some bridge challenges, both bidding and playing!

There was luckily no lost trains or planes on the way home, so everyone got home in one piece after a fun week with lots of interesting boards and tough competition. A great experience!

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  1. I have been an active member of FUNBRIDGE since its inception and play under French flag on French soil and yet you neglect to mention our team who won the SILVER MEDAL last year in Tignes with two French players myself and FRANCK MULTON in your article. The team was under FRANCK’s name too. You need to update your records please.

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