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Playing conditions in Montecatini

The following appeared in the tournament bulletin, Menton 2003, the first European Open Championships:

 Dear friends,I am defenceless.What can I do, what can I say? At the firstcocktail I presented my most heartfelt apologies. Now I amtruly dismayed; it seems like a bad dream, in fact a nightmare,but instead I realise that it's the unbearable reality.I am truly saddened because we have worked for monthsand months with care and enthusiasm to organise everythingin the best way possible, so that you could be at easehere and so that the Championship could offer you momentsof joy and serenity. I am truly saddened becauseyour presence at the Championship does not deserve tobe repaid in this way. I am truly saddened because our magnificentstaff (which has worked with passion and dedicationand continues to do so, heart and soul, amid conditionswhich are utterly prohibitive also for them) do notdeserve to see their efforts thwarted, do not deserve tofeel disheartened as they do seeing you voicing your justifiabledissatisfaction. I am truly saddened because the imagewe have presented is certainly not what we wanted, and Ican assure you it is not usual for us. I am truly saddened tohave disappointed you.Believe me, I am the first to realise that I cannot hide behindthe excuse of the heat wave. It is true, however, thatsuch a scourge has not occurred for over forty years, butit is also true that one should plan for all eventualities.As President of the EBL, and especially according to myprinciples, I personally assume all responsibility for whathas happened. I will make amends for this and I promisethat such a situation will never happen again. I assure youthat I have never not lived up to my word throughout mywhole life, and for me this is worth more than an oath.In another part of the Daily Bulletin you will find an announcementfrom the EBL Executive Committee invitingyou to let us have your comments and suggestions for thefuture. I assure you that all of them will be given due consideration.My letter here is intended as a personal messagenot only from the President of the EBL, but from abridgeplayer and friend.I would like to thank you, dear friends, all of you, for yourexemplary behaviour even in these conditions, whichdemonstrates your true love of bridge. I wish to thank youfor the calm and civil way in which you have voiced yourrightful complaints, presented almost more as suggestionsfor the future rather than reproaches. I wish to thank youbecause I feel you are all close to me.Un abbraccio to you all.Gianarrigo RonaEBL President

Fourteen years later, and the playing site in Montecatini was unpleasant, inadequately air-conditioned and remotely situated. What exactly happened to result in this, and why do players continue to stand for it?

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