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Malta Independent - - SPORT - ■ Mar­garet Par­nis Eng­land

It is with a heavy heart I start this ar­ti­cle.

One of Malta’s finest bridge play­ers, Mario Dix, sadly passed away on 19 Au­gust. Mario started play­ing bridge at Down­side Abbey at the age of 10. He played con­stantly till he passed away.

He had many in­ter­na­tional bridge part­ners and then had his Mal­tese part­ners af­ter he set­tled down in Malta 23 years ago. Mario was Pres­i­dent of the Malta Bridge As­so­ci­a­tion and also Chair­man of the Malta Bridge Club for many years, where he had served on both com­mit­tees for a long time.

He was very adamant that bridge in Malta is played to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and strove for this all his life.

Sadly some lo­cal rules have crept in which made him quite up­set.

He was trea­surer and mem­ber­ship sec­re­tary of the In­ter­na­tional Bridge Press As­so­ci­a­tion till he re­signed two years ago.

The Pres­i­dent of the World Bridge Fed­er­a­tion sent his con­do­lences as did the Pres­i­dent and past Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Bridge League.

One of his great­est achieve­ments was or­gan­is­ing the Euro­pean Bridge Teams Cham­pi­onships to­gether with my­self, in 1999 when over 800 play­ers and guests were hosted in Malta for two weeks.

This event is still talked about in bridge cir­cles as one of the best venues ever.

Teams’ Euro cham­pi­onship

In June, the 53rd Teams Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships were held in Bu­dapest. Sadly Malta was not rep­re­sented.

The win­ners in the Team Cham­pi­onship were France, Swe­den 2nd, Nether­lands, 3rd, Monaco, 4th, Ger­many 5th, Italy 6th.

These teams will be com­pet­ing in the pres­ti­gious Ber­muda Bowl, which is the World Cup of Bridge.

The Women’s teams event was won by Eng­land, my friend Sally Brock was a key mem­ber of this team, fol­lowed by France, Poland, Rus­sia, Is­rael and the Nether­lands.

There is also the se­niors’ teams event.

When this cham­pi­onship was held in Malta, fa­mous ac­tor Omar Sharif had played for France and they had won!

This year Is­rael won fol­lowed by Swe­den, Poland, Turkey, Italy and France. The se­niors’ event is very fierce and very com­pet­i­tive as many past champions take part.

Lo­cal sea­son

This month sees the be­gin­ning of the lo­cal sea­son.

The Malta Bridge Club has had its usual ses­sions on a Tues­day and Sun­day through­out the year.

The Union Club stops for the sum­mer months in June. It had a soft open­ing on Thurs­day 22 Septem­ber where 11 ta­bles played. The Sigma Cup com­pe­ti­tion starts on the first Mon­day of Oc­to­ber.

This com­pe­ti­tion is played on the first Mon­day of the month for 6 months.

The teams com­pe­ti­tion also starts in Oc­to­ber which will be played on Fri­days de­pend­ing on the num­ber of en­tries.

It is very dis­ap­point­ing that the team, all for­mer play­ers in the Small fed­er­a­tion Games, and who had put for­ward their name as is cus­tom­ary, to play in the Small Fed­er­a­tions Games in Dubrovnik in Novem­ber have not been al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate by the MBA.

Mario was the in­spi­ra­tion of these games nine years ago and Malta has al­ways par­tic­i­pated.

It would have been a fit­ting tribute to Mario for the Mal­tese team to have taken part this year.

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