Verona, City of Passion, welcomed thousands of the world's best players to the 8th World Bridge Championships, where one and all will be in passionate pursuit of collecting - what else? - tricks!
In a gala ceremony at Verona's Palazzo della Granguardia, World Bridge Federation President Josť Damiani declared the championships open at 9:37 p.m. Play begins today with two qualifying session of the Mixed Pairs.
Damiani also paid tribute to the many who contributed to the organization of the tournament and the sponsors who support it.
Damiani made special mention of the sponsorship of the Generali Group and the company's president, Antoine Bernheim, who took the microphone on receiving a special medal from the WBF. Said Bernheim: "Bridge is very good . . .because you work the head."
Gianarrigo Rona, president of the European Bridge League and the Italian Bridge Federation, noted that Italy has hosted many world tournaments in the past but never the World Bridge Championships.
Besides celebrating the opening of the tournament, Rona announced that the Italian government had approved the release of a commemorative stamp, issued on June 9.
The program, which included an enthralling shadow bridge show, concluded with excerpts from five different operas.