Day 5: The grand finale for Team Funbridge in Veldhoven!

After a successful start in Strasbourg, Team Funbridge continues its odyssey in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. On 24-29 July Team Funbridge’s young talents will compete against the most promising bridge players from the old continent at the 15th European Youth Pairs Championships.


Day 5: The grand finale for Team Funbridge
Day 4: Lets’s support Team Funbridge for the final!
Day 3: Mixed start in Open Pairs
Day 2: Major performance by Team Funbridge in Mixed Pairs!
Day 1: Impressive start!

Day 5: The grand finale for Team Funbridge

News of 30 July 2023

It’s time for the grand finale! Let’s start with a little reminder of the forces present for Team Funbridge:

  • In U26, Finn and Christian are accompanied by Margaux and Andreas, after convincing qualifying phases for both pairs.
  • In U21, Nicolai and Léo finished 4th but were a little disappointed with their game and expected to get back to their best level in the final!

The medal ambitions are serious for all the pairs of the Team, who have shown that they are capable of going for it. Nevertheless, the format remains somewhat random, since there are “only” 51 deals and the carry-over is quite low (two tops gap between the first and the last). To get a good result, you have to play very well but also be “well seated”, i.e. have cooperative opponents who give you some tops…

The first session is pretty average for the Team: Finn and Christian do a 49% session, as do Nicolai and Léo. Only Margaux and Andreas come out on top with a 54% session. In particular, they took their courage with both hands to counter two shots for -1 and recover 70% each time.

But in front of them, the scores are stratospheric: in U21 the Estonian leaders Vahk and Pedmanson are at 67%, while in U26, van Oosten and Thorpe are at 72%! They won’t be easy to pick up if they end up with two decent sessions.

Léo talks his opponent about the meaning of his bid

In the second session, I sit behind Margaux and Andreas. Unfortunately, the bad notes follow one another: an opponent does not know what he is playing in the sequence 1♦ (1♥) 1♠, and takes a very good blow by countering Andreas at 4♥ with 9 Spades in the line: the two games fell from a trick on a little miracle… Then comes the 1NT P P sequence, where Andreas wakes up at 2♦ to show a major single-suiter, but that was actually natural in their system. The 3-2 fit is rarely the best fit, so they fall 4.

It must be said that Andreas courageously learned Margaux’s system, of several dozen pages, in French, which does not help understanding! I leave my kibbitz place, having the unpleasant feeling of harming them… But the damage is already done, and they finish the session at 42% after a series of averages, to fall back to 9th place.

Margaux during a 2-man sequence with the opponents

It also turns out badly for Nicolai and Leo, stuck at the average and who can no longer have a medal, unless there is a miracle. The good surprise of the second session comes from Finn and Christian, who score 59% and rise sharply in the rankings, reaching 5th to 1% from 3rd, but quite far from the top 2 which will probably be played between Greeks and Dutch. We support them for the last session!

The start of the decisive session is excellent, on the one hand because Christian and Finn score a lot of 70% and move temporarily to 3rd place, but also because Margaux and Andreas reach an average of 75% on the first 9 deals and reappear in 4th place! Funny enough, one of their opponents also found a 3-2 Diamond fit 🙂

However, hope would be short-lived for them: the Italians they met next would prove inspired and put an end to their medal hopes. Christian and Finn are still 3rd, while the first and second have largely fallen and are within gunshot: everything is playable and the suspense is at its height! Before the start of the last table, we know that the medals will be decided between the first 4 (Donati & Porta, Thorpe & van Oosten, Skordas & Kristalis and Finn and Christian), but the order remains to be determined… To spice up the everything, Donati & Porta take on Skordas & Kristalis!

Finn vs. Sibrand van Oosten, who finished 2nd

The first deal is very bad for Finn and Christian, who play against the Swedish Sandin & Gustafsson, 5th in the ranking: their opponent chooses an atypical opening of 1NT with a 5242, and Christian intervenes at 2♥ on the opponent’s Texas Heart to show a two-suiter ♠+minor with ♠AD876 ♥4 ♦A9 ♣ARX73. A white-blue intervention that will result in a big penalty when the partner turns out to be void Spades with two Club cards…

Then it’s not better since their opponents manage to find the correct contract of 5♣ with Q9x for the Jack of Hearts and they lost the first 7 Hearts at 3NT. They will end up averaging in a common contract. The two players come out feeling bad, but still hope for a miracle in the Italo-Greek match, which will not take place. They therefore fail in a sad 4th place, after having hoped until the end… Margaux and Andreas finish 6th.

No medal for Team Funbridge this time, but we can’t always finish first, second and fourth! The future is quite promising even if the players are disappointed: above all, it lacked partnership habits to obtain a medal in U26. I have no doubt for them that they will bring back many in the future!

Thank you all for having followed this logbook, do not hesitate to give me feedback in the comment space if you have any criticisms to make. See you soon !👋

The U26 podium (Credits: EBL)

Day 4: Lets’s support Team Funbridge for the final!

News of 29 July 2023

Hi everyone ! We left each other yesterday at the end of the first day of Open qualifying: no one was guaranteed to pass and some members of Team Funbridge were on the edge…

At the end of the first session of the day, Christian and Finn gave themselves some breathing room with a nice session at 59%. Margaux and Andreas had an average session and lost two small places.

In U21, Nicolai and Léo hold on to the podium and have a big lead in qualifying: it’s almost done for them.

On the other hand, it’s always complicated for the Dalpozzo sisters, stuck in 10th place while only 8 qualify. You’re going to have to pull out a big session!

The second session validates the qualification of Margaux and Andreas, after a session at 62% where the counters flew (6 contracts countered in 16 deals). Christian and Finn have a decent session and have to avoid having a very bad last session, but they are almost there. Federica and Valentina scrape a small place and are only 0.12% from qualifying… The suspense is total!

The last session is therefore particularly tense: there is a crossover for the qualifying places. After a good first table, Valentina and Federica move up to 8th! But it follows a deluge of 9 bad shots that will definitely put an end to their hopes.

Andreas sorts his cards with a big smile
Finn and Christian vs. reigning World Pairs Champion Sibrand van Oosten and Stefan Thorpe

So here are the Team’s final results:

  • Nicolai and Léo: solid 4ths, never having been in danger.
  • Margaux and Andreas, impressive 5th for their first partnership. They practiced simple bridge and always stayed in the top 10.
  • Finn and Christian scared each other a little, but eventually mastered their subject and climbed up to 7th place.
  • Federica and Valentina fail in 10th place after believing in it until the end.

As for Romaric and I, we finished 19th, first unqualified, after a constant and painful fall – I must tell you that I still suffer while writing this report…

If you want to follow the results and encourage the Team, follow this link.

All behind them for the grand finale! It will be played in 51 deals, each pair competing on 3 deals. See you tomorrow for the rest of the events, and fingers crossed for medals!

Nicolai on the move to the 6♣ contract

Day 3: Mixed start in Open Pairs

News of 28 July 2023

After a great success in Mixed Pairs, it’s time for Team Funbridge to play the Open Pairs! Here are the team members participating in the event:

  • Léo is playing with Nicolai in U21. They are seen as the favourites!
  • The Delpozzo sisters (Federica and Valentina), reigning European champions as they won last year in Teams, are playing in U26W.
  • Christian Lahrmann and Finn Kolesnik, just back from the NABC, are playing in U26.
  • And Margaux is playing with the Swede Andreas Abragi for the first time. They more or less agreed on their system before the competition but they will mainly try to play a simple game to avoid any confusion.
Nicolai Hieberg-Evenstad

As for me, I am playing with my usual partner, Romaric Guth. We had finished 4th at the World Youth Championships (U26 Pairs) last year and we will try to step onto the podium this time!

The format is different from the Mixed Pairs since the event is run over three days instead of two. It starts with a two-day qualifying stage. In U26, you must be among the top 18 pairs to qualify and the last day is dedicated to the final for the lucky ones who have qualified. The carry-over, that is the bonus awarded according to the rank achieved during the qualifications, is very low. So, the qualifying rank doesn’t really matter as long as you qualify…

The tournament started in a very original way for Romaric and me. We are “Bye”, which means that we have no opponents in the first round and we can go about our business. We are watching Irish friends on BBO between two table tennis matches. But surprise! After three deals, the operator loads the fourth one and we have access to the four hands of the deal that we are going to play in the next round. Of course, we immediately reported the problem to the director who checked that we couldn’t get any information illicitly. Our poor defence in 3NT quite convinced him and the tournament continued like nothing happened.

Here is a particularly interesting deal from the pairs tournament:

Romaric’s 2♣ bid is a two-way checkback and 2♥ shows an invitational hand with at least 5 hearts.

I made a relay bid of 2NT to look for the best game and decided to play in 3NT opposite the 5332 shape announced by Romaric.

Statistically, it is a good bet with 4333 but not an exact science…

My Swedish opponent in West leads the 2 of Spades as an encouraging low card. I play low in dummy with a spark of hope, but East’s Queen appears and of course, he continues. I am in a very bad coup: the ♥4 is positioned where the Jack of Hearts should whereas 3NT is dead on arrival. To try to make up for it, I choose to make another play in Hearts by running the ♥10: if the Jack of Hearts is with my RHO, 4♥ will go one down if they are normally handled (♥K then heart to the ♥10). I can hope that I will equalise if the Spades are 4-4!

All right, the diagram above was what I imagined in my wildest dreams. In reality, the Jack of Hearts is with my LHO and I miserably go down by 3 tricks. 9 players out of 19 played in 3NT and 3 chose the same line of play as me, so I didn’t score a bottom.

Here is the real layout:

After a very good start with Romaric, the rest of the day was more difficult. A Greek pair especially gave us a hard time at the very end. I doubled 2♠ for +1… In the end, when the fog clears and scores are displayed, we are 11thwith 54% and happy that the day is over. Things were getting confusing.

The Team Funbridge’s results are somewhat mixed:

  • Finn and Christian are at a fragile 18th place, which narrowly qualifies them for now.
  • Andreas and Margaux made a very good comeback after a hard start and took a good 7th place.
  • Nicolai and Léo rank 6th in U21. Things didn’t go as well as expected.
  • Valentina and Federica are 10th, just behind the eight qualifying places. They will have to work hard tomorrow!
Margaux, Léo and Romaric debriefing about their deals and results

Tomorrow will see the end of the qualifications. Everything remains to be done!💪

Luc Bellicaud

Day 2: Major performance by Team Funbridge in Mixed Pairs!

News of 27 July 2023

After an excellent first half in the Pairs, Team Funbridge must confirm. That is a harsh start of the day for Margaux and me – the first deal sets the tone –, our half-asleep opponent opens 2♥ (major two-suiter) with 6 Hearts and 4 Clubs, preventing us from finding our 11-card spade fit! At the end of the session, our score is 45% and we drop to fourth… Meanwhile, Nicolai and his partner’s parade continues as they head to victory without any suspense.

Things are a bit better during the second session. We score 54%. Here is a deal I had trouble with:

* 2♥: 5 Hearts and a minor
** 3♣: pass or correct

Green vs red, here is my hand:

I let myself be carried away by my 11 HCP and bid 3NT. Margaux rebids her 7-card suit and has a particularly bad break: -500.

I should have been careful: both opponents bid despite they are vulnerable and I have no source of tricks, hearts being behind me and probably spades too… And Margaux will still be able to bid if she is maximum with a short club suit. I think that it would have been better to pass.

Before the last session, the first place is a foregone conclusion (congratulations to Nicolai!) and the runner-ups are quite ahead of the pack (including our pair) with about 55%. We are fourth, followed by Federica and Léo who made a good comeback. We will have to tighten our game to grab a medal!

We start to score some good points after our opponents made several big mistakes. And to our delight, it doesn’t stop there and we alternate between average scores and tops! With 5 deals to go, here is my hand:

I had to respond 1♦ first because we don’t play inverted minor raises and it is out of the question that I rise to 3NT whereas 5♣ is better when Partner has a singleton. Margaux raises to 3♦, which shows an unbalanced maximum.

My hand then becomes very powerful: my partner has a spade singleton (with 5-4-2-2, she would have opened 1NT) and I realise that taking 12 tricks in Clubs should be easy-peasy. I consider bidding 4♣, which should set clubs as trumps and could help me look for the grand slam (♠3 ♥AK8 ♦KQ85 ♣KJ876), but I prefer keeping it simple and bidding 6♣.

Margaux quickly takes 12 tricks by testing Diamonds 3-3, avoiding the finesse in Hearts, and we score 90% on the deal. Why? Because lots of players preferred opening 1NT with 17 HCP and the stiff King of Spades. And I must admit that I could have been tempted to do the same…

We get out of the room full of hope without knowing our exact score. We check the score board, we are second with a good lead on the third pair! The timing is perfect, we ended the session with 72%.

End of session: 72%. One rarely has the chance to get such a score!

Major performance for Team Funbridge! 🎉

🥇 Nicolai Hieberg-Evenstad – Sofie Grasholt Sjodal

🥈 Luc Bellicaud – Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu

🥉 Ecem Yavuz – Emre Can Akkaya

Full rankings

Team Funbridge nearly fills up all the spots on the podium. Unfortunately, Léo and Federica missed one session to complete their comeback. They finish fourth but first in the U21 category, which earned them a cup!

The podium with Nicolai 1st and Margaux 2nd! ©EBL

Photos of Team Funbridge’s Day 2 in Veldhoven

Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu’s interview (in French)

Transcript in English:

Luc Bellicaud: “Hi Margaux, how are you?”

Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu: “Hi, fine!”

Luc: “Congratulations for yesterday! A great 2nd place…”

Margaux: “Yes but I play with a very famous and nice person so it can only go well!”

Luc: (laughs) “So tell me: today is a new event, you’re starting the Pair, you’re playing in Junior, can you tell us about your partnership and what you expect from the event?”

Margaux: “So it’s the first time I play with Andreas (Editor’s note: Andreas Abragi). He seems super nice and he agrees to play the way I want, it’s really super nice from him. And then I’ll try to play with concentration and it should be OK!”

Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu and Andreas Abragi

Luc: “OK. We hope to qualify for the final, there are two days of qualifying and one day for the final, that’s the format of the competition. So we’ll see you soon for the next results!”

Day 1: Impressive start!

News of 25 July 2023

Hi! This is Luc Bellicaud. The European Youth Pairs Championships are taking place this week in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, and I will be keeping a log book every day to follow the journey of Team Funbridge while participating in some events myself.

Luc Bellicaud

Arrived the day before, we start the championships with the Mixed Pairs. It lasts two days and the 49 participating pairs play against each other on two deals for a total of 96 deals. The level is quite heterogenous and most partnerships don’t often play together.

Calm before the competition
Reunion time
First looks at the rankings

The whole Team Funbridge is not here yet, some members are still playing the NABC. Those attending the competition are:

Federica DalpozzoLéo Rombaut
Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu (with myself)
Nicolai Hieberg-Evenstad (with Sofie Grasholt Sjodal)
Valentina Dalpozzo (with Gabriele Guibilo)


Here is a rather tricky deal that Margaux and I saw:

With this very strong two-suiter and 20 HCP in East, I open 1♣. Some chose 2♣ but I hope to make a reverse bid, in which case I will be in a much better position.

Margaux responds 1♥ and my non-vulnerable opponent overcalls 1♠. Of course, I continue with a 2♦ reverse bid as planned.

However, I have a problem. The 2♦ bid can be much weaker. One could bid 2♦ with ♠8 ♥32 ♦KJX4 ♣AQJX65 for instance.

What to do next? You must discuss that with your partner, but I like considering 2NT bids as natural, positive and non-forcing, whereas 3♣ shows a minimum hand. But Margaux and I haven’t talked about this and we are in limbo. I end up bidding 3♣, hoping that it will be forcing.

Now I suppose that she has a strong hand with diamonds and take her straight to the 6♦ contract.

The 6♦ contract is flat and I claim 12 tricks after losing the Ace of Spades and checking that trumps don’t break 5-0. But there is a hitch: there are 12 tricks in NT and we score “only” 60%, many partnerships having found this contract, often after the very unusual 2NT opening bid in East!

And finally, here are the results of Team Funbridge who made an impressive start!

Nicolai is the leader with a stratospheric average score of 65%, with Margaux and myself (quite) further back with 59%. The other pairs encountered more difficulties but are waiting in ambush above the average and can still hope to step onto the podium!

Here are the full results:

Click on the ranking to enlarge the picture.

Watch the interview given by Nicolai, the undisputed leader of the competition, below:

Transcript of Nicolai’s interview:

Luc Bellicaud: “Hi Nikolai! How is it going?”

Nicolai Heiberg-Evenstad: “Good! It’s really a great trip so far. I’ve been for hours here. I came from right from Chicago, playing NABC there.”

Luc: “And now you are leading the tournament, so how was it yesterday? 65% that’s a very great score!”

Nicolai: “It’s really not that hard when you have the best partner in the field. I just play my bridge and it’s enough!”

Luc: “So, do you hope to do as good today as yesterday?”

Nicolai: “We don’t need to do as good, we just need to play a good bridge and it should be enough.”

Luc: “OK cool, thanks!”

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!👋

Luc Bellicaud

Let’s support Team Funbridge!

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Team Funbridge is growing!

News of 11 July 2023

Team Funbridge

You remember Andreas, Nicolai, Finn and Christian ? The four original members of the team proudly wore the colours of Funbridge at Strasbourg ETC. In Veldhoven they will be joined by five other promising young players. Here are the profiles of these new recruits with talent to burn!

Léo Rombaut

Léo Rombaut aka

Federica Dalpozzo aka

Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu aka

Valentina Dalpozzo aka

Emma Kolesnik aka

“I was thrilled to help Team Funbridge take its first steps in Strasbourg. With these five new recruits, we have nine experimented players, boys and girls. Our ambition is to climb up the top steps of the podium.

The who’s who of international youth bridge will be there. Top-notch bridge players. They will need to give their best to reach the objective. The good atmosphere in the team will help us. Let’s go Team Funbridge! Have fun! Let’s go Funbridge players! Let’s encourage them to excel!”

Jérôme Rombaut – Coach of Team Funbridge

Jérôme Rombaut


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