The opening ceremony of the fourth IOC Grand Prix
was graced by a number of distinguished guests. They included Marc
Hodler & Tony Khoury, members of the Executive Board
of the IOC, Mario Pescante, the President of the European
Olympic Committee, and Polish IOC member Irena Szewinska,
the Gold Medal winner in the Olympic 400 metres in Montreal 1976
where she was the first woman to run below 50 seconds.
All the leading figures in the world of bridge administration
were also present. José Damiani, the President
of the World Bridge Federation, Gianarrigo Rona, the
President of the European Bridge League and George Retek,
the President of the American Contract Bridge League.
Following speeches by Messers Retek, Damiani
and Hodler, Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland preceded
the introduction of the players. The competing teams include the
reigning Venice Cup, Olympiad and World Junior Champions.
After two matches, Canada are the early
leaders in the men's series. They made an impressive start on VuGraph,
outscoring USA by 34-5 IMPs for a 23-7 VP win and then gained
the same number of Victory Points against India. The Netherlands
lead the Women's event, having routed the powerful French
team 25-4 VP in the opening round and then outscoring South Africa
18-12 VP. b, one of the favourites, also lost their second match
to China, 11-19VP to find themselves at the wrong end of
In the Junior event the first round matches have
reached the two-thirds mark with Americas and Europe North
enjoying a slight advantage.