Blue Team - 1957 Blue TeamBlue Team - 1957

The interesting story of a great and successful bridge team

Giorgio BelladonnaGiorgio Belladonna – 



Walter Avarelli Walter Avarelli–  ROMAN CLUB

The popular name of the Italian international bridge team which gained a remarkable series of successes beginning in 1956. The name is apparently derived from the 1956 Italian Trials, when the Blue Team defeated the Red Team.

Federico Rosa, the late secretary of the Italian Bridge Federation, explained that the successes of the Blue Team were closely connected with the name of Carl Alberto Perroux, The technical Commisioner of the Italian Bridge Federation. He undertook this duty in 1950, and scored his first success in the following year when the team which he had selected won the European Championship in Venice. But the subsequent World Championship encounter with the United States at Naples showed that the young Italian Champions were lacking in experience and team discipline.

But this did not cause Perroux to lose heart. He wrote then that the Italians had wished to reach the moon too quickly. This was a promise and a threat. From that day two groups of enthusiasts, under the paternal leadership of the Technical Commissioner, dedicated themselves to a profound and detailed study of the game. As a result the two schools – the Neapolitanian and the Roman – gave birth not only to two of the most accurate bidding systems ever devised, NEAPOLITAN and ROMAN, plus LITTLE ROMAN, but also to the great story of the Blue Team, made up of men such as Walter Avarelli, Giorgio Belladonna, Eugenio Chiaradia, Massimo D’Alelio, Pietro Forquet, Benito Garozzo, Camillo Pabis-Ticci and Guglielmo Siniscalco.

Pietro Forquet Pietro Forquet –


The italians did not have to wait too long before avening the 1951 defeat. From 1956 the Blue Team, captained by Perroux through 1966, then by others, went from victory to victory, and finally reached the moon. They set an international record which will probably never be equalled: four consequtive European Championship wins, ten consecutive World Championship victories in the Bermuda Bowl, and three consequtive World Team Oplympiad victories.

Benito Garozzo Benito Garozzo –



Camillo Pabis-Ticci Camillo Pabis-Ticci – ARNO CLUB

 Massimo D’Alelio –


With the universe theirs, the Blue Team announced its retirement after winning the 1969 World Championship. After the Aces’ victories in the 1970 and 1971 Bermuda Bowls, the Blue team briefly returned to world competition for the 1972 World Team Olympiad. Using modifications of the Precision Club system, the Blue team won the round-robin and went on to defeat the Aces in the finals 203-138. Italy continued its domination of the Bermuda Bowl in 1973, 1974 and 1975 but with only two or three members of the traditional Blue Team in the lineup.

Source: ACBL Dictionary, page 38

Sharif Bridge Circus

 A touring professional team of world class players, organized and headed by movie star Omar Sharif, to play a series of exhibition matches against leading European and North American teams.

The circus made its debut late in 1967 when Sharif, Giorgio Belladonna, Claude Delmouly, Benito Garozzo and Leon Yallouze, all playing the Blue Team Club, defeated the Dutch international team in matches sponsored by newspapers and played in three Netherlands cities before enthusiastic audiences, who viewed the competition on BRIDGE-O-RAMA. Using this format – a match against a highly-rated team with the play-by-play displayed to the audience accompanied by expert commentary – the Circus made an extended tour in 1968. It defeated teams in Italy and London, lost its first matches to The Netherlands and Belgium in The Hague, and made a swing through six North American cities – Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans and New York – winning the majority of the matches. (Several of the American matches were three-cornered contests involving the Circus, the local team, and the ACES.)

Eugenio Chiaradia Eugenio Chiaradia –


image  Guglielmo Siniscalco – 


Carl Alberto Perroux Carl Alberto Perroux – non-playing captain

imageOmar Sharif

Ira G. Corn, financier of the DALLAS ACES

A second tour in 1970 received a spectacular sendoff when Jeremy Flint and Jonathan Cansino challenged Sharif and company to a 100-rubber pair game in London(later reduced by time pressure to 80 rubbers). The stakes were an unprecedented British pound ($ 2.40) per point, plus an additional bonus of $1.000 on the net result of each four rubbers. The match attracted wide newspaper and magazine coverage in the United States as well in Europe. Sharif won by a margin of 5.470 points and collected more than $ 18.000. However, this was a comparatively small sum against the expenses of staging the match and taping the highlights for a series of television shows palnned for later syndication.

This was immediately followed by a tour of seven North American cities – Chicago, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, St. Paul, Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia. In addition to matches against powerful teams of local stars, the tour included a marathon 840-deal match against the Aces, who accompanied the Circus throughout the tour. The Circus defeated the all-star teams in Chicago, Winnipeg adn St. Paul but lost all its other matches, bowing to the Aces by 101 IMP’s(1793-1692) after the lead had seesawed excitingly from city to city. Pietro Forquet joined the Sharif team in Dallas but could not reverse the effect of the exhausting schedule, which included numerous personal appearances by Sharif.

Despite commercial sponsorship of more than $50.000 in 1970, neither of the American tours proved a financial success, although both resulted in wide publicity for bridge.

Source: ACBL Dictionary, page 399