10th - 25th JUNE 2022
Doreen writes -

We visited the island of Madeira where Eitan was involved with the European Bridge Championships for about 2 weeks. Here is the view from the rooftop of the Casino Park Hotel in Funchal where we stayed. On my birthday we were surprised by the hotel sending a bottle of 'champagne' nicely cooled in an ice bucket. They probably got the date from my passport and it was a lovely surprise. We enjoyed sipping the wine on the balcony of our room.
Casino viewbirthday champagne                            

Madeira was supposed to be Eitan’s swan song. After eight years as a member of the European Bridge League Executive, he was not standing for re-election. If and how he was to continue his connection with the Bridge League was an unknown. But we did know that we would continue to keep contact with friends that we have met during the years of Eitan's involvement with bridge. We look forward to these events because of the 'Two F's' - Friends and Food. In addition to the official dinners we were delighted to go out and eat with friends.

Madeirahorton-Swann-HermanMadeiraMadeira passionMadeira - gruta

Doreen and MaureenMadeira ebl farewell

Except for the European Junior Bridge Championships later this month this was the last tournament where Eitan had chosen the tournament directors (TDs) with whom he has worked for years.

TD Madeira
The 16 TDs (one absent) at the the European Bridge Teams Championships
from 11 countries: England, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark

Madeira ELDBFS


Eitan was constantly consulted on various issues and every morning when we went to breakfast
a director or a player would come to Eitan with a question or asking for clarification.

At the staff party at the end of the tournament when all the staff got a small gift, Eitan
 received a standing ovation. It is heartwarming to know that his continued effort to
 improve rules and regulations, the standard of the tournament directors and be a
 reviewer (the ultimate judge in cases of dispute), is acknowledged and appreciated.

So while Eitan worked I played. On an outing with friends on a catamaran we were rewarded by seeing dolphins and managed a quick swim in the cold Atlantic waters. We went to the Tropical Gardens in Monte by cable car and enjoyed the beautifully maintained park with its trees, statues and mineral museum. Afterwards Corine joined me for a hair-raising ride on a road toboggan  careening down a paved road where the fear of crashing into a wall was very real. It seems that the men who paddle from behind are very experienced and do this for our enjoyment!

Madeira CatermaranMadeira Catermaran

Doreen diving

Madeira for me was an action-packed holiday. I had two tennis lessons with Sergo and was happy to improve my game, playing again after a ten year hiatus.

But the highlight of my trip was scuba diving. Because of my advanced age (over 75) I needed to
undergo a series of tests in order to get my diving insurance. My first dive, a refresher dive was very
 successful. The second dive was less so. I learnt at the last minute that we were going to do a wreck dive.

Only in Eilat does one suit up and walk into the water to see the corals and fish.
Here we had to walk from the diving centre down to steps leading to deep water and then swim out to the waiting
speedboat. The guy in charge told me to jump into the water and threw my buoyancy jacket with
air balloon into the water. I screamed at him asking how was I to put on the jacket. "Hold it and
swim to the boat" was his reply. 

The dive instructor and boat skipper were very helpful, assisting me. But the first time I put on my
equipment was when I was sitting on the boat platform about to dive into the water. The jacket
was a little too small and I didn’t realize that the jacket  straps were too loose and in addition they had
given me more weights than I needed. I went down by the anchor line, because of the current
and struggled the whole dive to maintain my balance. In the wreck I was either sinking to the floor
of the ship or hitting my head on the ceiling. Not my most successful dive!

For my wreck dive Jose Miguel Ortega prepared a video (click here)  which shows the dive as well as the sinking of the ship some years ago. There's a clear view of me at 9:41

Madeira is a volcanic island and it is all ups and down with very few level areas.  I joined Oryah and Ziv and Reuven and Eti on a guided tour of the north-west of the island. We stopped at Cabo Girao, the highest sea cliff in Europe and were rewarded by a video taken over the sea from Ziv’s drone .  At our next stop (Encumeada) while Ziv was activating the drone a gust of wind caused it to crash into the thick undergrowth covering the steep slope below the viewing platform. Sadly there was no way to find it. When we stopped at Porto Moniz for lunch the driver/guide offered to take Ziv to look for the drone. Amazingly he accompanied Ziv, walking through the scratchy bushes down the slope looking for the downed drone. Just when Ziv decided it was a lost cause, he saw the lights of the drone blinking; somewhat damaged but recovered. This story of the help of the guide epitomizes the incredible helpfulness and friendliness of everyone we met in Madeira. They are proud of their island and want every visitor to like it as well. The weather was cool; there is very little crime and much to do, making it an ideal place to vacation.

Cabo Girao
The platform at Cabo Girao. Because of the volcanic nature of the island there is little access directly to the sea but many places have delightful swimming pools. We watched entranced as the waves crashed into the pool at Porto Montiz
porto monizframed

On our last day Eitan even had some free time, so we took a taxi to Camara de Lobos, a delightful fishing village not far from where we were staying. It’s most illustrious visitor was Winston Churchill, who in 1950 on holiday with his family visited the village and painted a picture of the bay. We found the statue of him and recreated the event. Eitan is in front of the bay that Churchill was painting.

At the end of the month there is a holiday celebrating St Peter, an important saint for a fishing village. The streets were festooned with various recycled objects - netting and plastic fish, plastic gallon containers, and my best, cooking pots and pans.

Camera de loboschurchillpots and pans

And finally a few words from Eitan on the Bridge Championships.

An official bridge championship is not easy to organize. Just a few examples. To reduce the luck factor everyone plays the same hands. The cards are "dealt" randomly by computer and then the actual cards are sorted and placed in "boards" semi-manually with the aid of a duplicating machine. For this event over 70,000 boards had to be prepared and the duplication staff worked tirelessly to achieve this.


There is a camera at every table and matches with commentary are shown in a large hall. The play at some tables is broadcast and watched live by enthusiasts all over the world. Eighty staff members are needed, from the Championship Commitee to judges, IT personnel, secretarial staff, bulletin staff, broadcasters and caddies.
I was on the Championship Committee and was the 'reviewer' adjudicating rulings given by the tournament directors (judges).  I spent many years as a tournament director.
My first international role as a TD was in 1980 but I took a 17 year break from bridge because of work.  In 1997 I went on a training course and resumed my activities as an international TD. I worked my way through the ranks and eventually was appointed head of the TD training courses which are held every year. The next course will be in Warsaw in September and that will be my last as organizer although I will still be involved in the preparation of future courses.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as a TD and as a trainer of TDs. Apart from bridge, the two F's (
friends and food ) have been amazing. We have visited many countries and there is a special relationship between the people involved in bridge; the differences in country, culture, food  and religion are unimportant, we all work together. We have made friends from all over the world and we are always delighted to see each other again. We maintain contact and friendships with many of them even when we are not at competitions, and have visited and been visited by many of them. 

At this Championship I was delighted that the Israel Team took the bronze medal in the Women's event and that I presented the medals .

Israel women bronze

My family know how much I like KFC and my last act in Madeira was finishing off at the airport (with a little help from Doreen) a bucket of KFC chicken.