But life in the cut-throat world of organized crime was not for him, so after a few years spent in various schools and universities, he moved to London to take up a challenging post at the renowned Barbican Centre, a huge arts complex a ten-minute walk from St Paul’s Cathedral. There he found many outlets where he could pursue his favourite hobbies, among them bridge and the opera.
Far, far away, in then Communist Romania, a sprightly young girl was forever devising new excuses to skip school in order to go and play her favourite game -- bridge!
Migry Albu, together with her family, moved to Israel in 1977 and there continued her studies as well as starting to make herself a well-known figure in the local bridge circles.
Her enormous talent quickly led to a place in the Women’s National team, something she has not relinquished to date, and earned her a wide assortment of trophies, mainly obtained during her partnership of 15 years with Ruti Porat-Levit.
In 1986 she decided to become a full-time bridge professional (teacher/player) and has since been a contributor to many of the world’s bridge magazines.
In 1998 she thought it was time to join the computer generation and convinced herself (not always an easy assignment) to try out the latest novelty -- online bridge. She joined OkBridge, where she started playing with Melih Ozdil, a legendary Turkish player (known to friends as 'The Melih') to practice for their impending date in the World Mixed Pairs Championship in Lille.
Unfortunately, one evening The Melih was a bit tired and excused himself from an ongoing game against two Greek friends of theirs. Well, the night was young, the moon was yellow, the game was fun -- so they looked for a suitable replacement.
Enter Pietro. Introductions quickly follow to the attractive Israeli partner and the game goes on.
First hand; IMPs, both sides vulnerable. The Greek declarer plays in 6 from the South position after an aggressive sequence. The contract looks a very pushy one and seems to require the doubleton king of trumps onside as well as a friendly heart split in order to succeed.
This is the layout:
West (Migry) leads the K, which declarer takes with the ace. He unblocks the ace-queen of diamonds, then leads the 3 from dummy. Pietro, East, plays the K. Declarer wins the A and judges that he might still be able to make his contract with spades four-one if he can dispose of dummy’s club losers on his diamonds and later ruff a heart with the Q. He is going to need some luck, but in all successful variations he can’t afford to release the Q prematurely.
We can see that there may be some holes in this general plan, but this was still a reasonable effort by declarer under the pressure of time. Can you really blame him for leading a low trump to dummy’s nine at the next trick?
Well, that was bridge love at first sight. After two months of online chats, phone calls and a lot . . . (really a lot) of bridge came the first meeting in Eilat. And then things took off.
On March 16th, 1999, the 'inevitable' took place, and after Pietro’s moving to Israel shortly thereafter, the newly-wed couple has been happily nesting in a sunny northern suburb of Tel Aviv. They both love the opera and old movies, and Pietro’s collection of posters, concert tapes, CD’s, records, and films has been accorded a place of honor in the apartment. Sort of a mini Wailing Wall. The bridge library, still in transit from the mother country, favors the works of Italian masters, which Pietro often reads to Migry when she is not reading Harry Potter. Domestic bliss, even with Rikard the cat, who has a destructive side and is not fussy about the Italian masters or the great Italian operas. He is not too old to learn, however.
Nowadays, Migry is looking for new bridge challenges and has entered the world of bridge journalism assisted by Pietro who is busy writing content for their bridge magazine. Both, however, are still partial to the occasional foray into online bridge.