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Giorgio  BELLADONNA

Romano, nato il 7 giugno del 1923 e scomparso il 12 maggio del 1996, è stato fino al 1992 il numero uno della classifica dei World Grand Master edita dalla WBF ed è universalmente considerato uno dei più forti giocatori di ogni tempo.

 Secondogenito di Amedeo e Flavia Maresi, prima di lui era arrivata la sorella Clara, conseguì la maturità classica al Liceo Visconti di Roma nel 1941 e dopo aver praticato per diversi anni il calcio a livello semi professionistico, a causa di un malanno, dovette abbandonare l'attività agonistica e fu questo accidente a consegnarlo al Bridge.

 Nel 1947 fu assunto dall'E.N.P.A.S. e nel 1948 conobbe quella Maria Antonietta Mazzucchi che, due anni più tardi, sarebbe diventata la sposa che gli avrebbe dato i due figli: Anna e Renato.

I Sistemi di Giorgio

1955 - Fiori Manca

1958 - Fiori Romano

1971 - Fiori Blue Team

1972 - Precision

1973 - Super Precision

1976 - Nuovo Fiori Romano

1977 - Sistema Lancia

1987 - Standard Italia

 Tredici volte Campione del Mondo e altre 3 Vicecampione, 3 volte Campione Olimpico e un'atra Vicecampione, 10 volte Campione Europeo e altre tre Vicecampione più un bronzo, è stato l'unico dei mitici campioni del Vecchio Blue Team che è stato sempre presente in tutte le vittorie dell'Italia tra il 1957 e il 1975 e queste sono sola alcune delle perle del suo palmares davvero incredibile e, con ogni probabilità, irripetibile per chiunque a venire.

 È stato coautore di diversi sistemi licitativi tra i quali particolare fortuna hanno avuto il Fiori Romano ed il Precision.

Con Benito Garozzo ha formato una coppia leggendaria che per un lungo periodo è stata praticamente invincibile. 

Ha rappresentato fin dalla sua fondazione una delle colonne inamovibili del mitico Blue Team dove fu inserito come matricola agli Europei del 1956 di Stoccolma giocando in coppia con Walter Avarelli e cominciando subito a vincere.

Giocatore fantasioso e forse insuperato nell'abilità per il Gioco con il Morto, era famoso in tutto il mondo per la sua generosità, la sua bonarietà e la sua simpatia. L'emotività che lo pervadeva ad ogni impegno agonistico importante, glielo faceva vivere sempre come quello della vita.

Lasciò in giovane età la sicurezza dell'impiego pubblico per dedicarsi interamente al bridge, improvvisandosi da un momento all'altro professionista di un gioco che in Italia era praticato da pochi e molto poco era organizzato.

Compiacendosi dei suoi innumerevoli allori, i bridgisti italiani di ogni tempo non potranno mai ringraziarlo abbastanza per quella coraggiosa quanto fortunata decisione.

Giorgio Belladonna (1923-1995) of Rome, Italy, was a public official and bridge professional with a long-running column in a leading Italian daily newspaper.

In his youth, Belladonna was a useful footballer but it was bridge which was to be his great love and at which he was to become one of the all-time greats.

A leading theoretician, Belladonna was the principle inventor of the Roman Club system of bidding and, with Benito Garozzo, created Super Precision, a complex strong club based method.

Belladonna was the number one ranked player in the world for many years according to the WBF's masterpoint scheme and for many years would also have won a sizable number of votes from his peers as being the best player in the world. Certainly, he was regarded as being the best technical player around.

I can also speak from personal experience in saying that he was one of the nicest players in top class bridge.

The story of Giorgio Belladonna is really the story of a very great team, the Italian Blue Team. There have been other powerful teams in the history of bridge but the Blue Team were, without question, the finest team the world has yet seen and their achievements are without parallel.

The Blue Team consisted of eight very fine players: Eugenio Chiaradia, Guglielmo Siniscalco, Mimmo D'Alelio, Walter Avarelli, Camillo Pabis-Ticci, Giorgio Belladonna, and Pietro Forquet and Benito Garozzo, who are also to be found in this volume. As important as the players was the non-playing captain, Carlo Alberto Perroux.

An international team consists of six players, and from 1957 to 1969 six out of the above eight players won ten consecutive Bermuda Bowls, the Open Championship of the world. They also won three consecutive World Team Olympiads, in 1964, 1968 and 1972.

After the break-up of the Blue Team, some of its members continued to play internationally and three more Bermuda Bowls were won in the 1970s. Only one man was a member of every one of those sixteen Italian World Championship victories and that was Giorgio Belladonna. He also won the European Open Teams Championship on ten occasions between 1956 and 1979 and the Italian Open Teams eleven times.

Belladonna's early successes were in partnership with Walter Avarelli. He played odd championships with other partners but his other major partnership was that with Benito Garozzo, which was generally regarded to be the strongest in the world. After retiring from international competition Belladonna frequently partnered Pietro Forquet in open tournaments around Europe.

Along with other members of the Blue Team, Belladonna played in the Lancia Team, a sponsored team that toured North America in 1975 playing a series of challenge matches against local teams. They managed to win only one of the four matches; good news for their opponents as part of the sponsorship deal was that Lancia cars were to go to teams which were successful against them.

Belladonna had also been a member of the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus, a group of top professionals who toured both Europe and North America in the late sixties playing challenge matches. In 1970, the Circus made its second North American tour, winning three out of seven challenges against major city teams and also playing a marathon 840 board match against the Dallas Aces who accompanied them on the tour and played a segment of the match at each of the seven venues. The Aces won the match by 1793 to 1692 IMPs.

But the results of the matches were not as important as was the publicity generated by the tour. Though it was not a financial success, the tour significantly raised the profile of the game in the public image for a while, though it has to be admitted that Sharif was the biggest attraction to the media and the exhausting schedule included many personal appearances by him.

It was no accident that Giorgio Belladonna was involved in both the Sharif Circus and the Lancia Team. A truly great player and a fine human being, he was a great ambassador for the game wherever he went.

The hand which follows was attributed to Belladonna and certainly nobody else has ever laid claim to it, yet, when asked by another author many years ago, Giorgio swore that he had never seen the hand before and knew nothing about it! Whatever the truth of that story, it looks like a Belladonna hand and is so beautiful in its simplicity that I could find no hand more deserving of my selection as the Belladonna hand for this book.

  

Giorgio Belladonna (1923 - 1995) est un joueur de Bridge italien, entré vivant dans la légende du jeu de Bridge avec treize victoires de la Bermuda Bowl (un peu l'équivalent de la Coupe Davis).

Il intègre l'Equipe Blue du capitaine Carl' Alberto Perroux avec des partenaires comme Pietro Forquet ou Eugenio Chiaradia, surnommé le Professeur.

Il se fait remarquer lors de ses deux premiers championnats d'Europe et gagne la première Bermuda Bowl de l'histoire de l'Italie, en 1957 qui est aussitôt suivie de deux autres.

Le début des années 1960 voit un très léger passage à vide puisque la Blue Team est ridiculisée aux Olympiades de Turin. Mais presque aussitôt s'enchaînent les Bermuda Bowl 13 fois, entrecoupés par les secondes et troisièmes Olympiades (1964 à New York, 1968 à Deauville en mai - juin 68).

Décennie '70, dont Belladonna dira qu'il aura eu « moins de jeu », elle se termine par trois places de deuxième.

Il faut souligner que Belladonna vit en monnayant ses talents, d'abord au sein de la Lancia Team, ce qui lui impose des déplacements incessants qui ne favorisent guère le maintien d'un haut niveau de concentration, ni autant de temps qu'avant pour perfectionner son système d'enchère sophistiqué, bien des années avant la majeure cinquième.

Malgré tout, il lui aura ensuite suffi de sortir de temps en temps de sa semi-retraite pour demeurer numéro un mondial jusqu'à sa mort, quelques mois avant une Bermuda Bowl se déroulant à Pékin.

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