Thomas BESSIS and Frederic VOLCKER, two French players both 24 years old, are the new European Youth Pairs champions. They were comfortable winners of the 9th edition of the competition, played under a new format in Wroclaw, Poland, 15-18 July 2008. For the first time, there was a Girls series contested separately in the tournament, alongside the Under-26 and Under-21 series. All in all, 162 national pairs from 26 countries competed in the Championship, with about one third coming from the host country.

70 pairs from 21 countries competed in the Under-26 series. Bessis-Volcker qualified easily, and then topped the Semi Finals from the very beginning and stayed there until the end of the Finals. They ended up well ahead of runners up Michal Nowosadzki (25) and Piotr Wiankowski (24) of Poland who prevailed marginally of Italy's Arrigo Franchi (24) and Matteo Montanari (23).

In the Under-21 series, there were 59 competing pairs, representing 15 countries. The contest was won by Poland's Michal KANIA (20) and Aleksander KRYCH (18) who scored slightly better than their compatriots' Tomasz Maciej Jochymski (19) and 15-year old Woijciech Kazmierczak. The bronze medal went to Ilia Szpuntow (20) of Belarus and yet another young Pole, Kacper Wilczak (17).

Finally, Poland prevailed clearly also in the inaugural European Girls Pairs Championship, taking three of the four top positions, among 33 pairs representing 10 countries. The winners were Poland's Joanna KRAWCZYK (21) and Natalia SAKOWSKA (20). They were followed by Marta Maj (25) and Kamila Szczepanska (25), also of Poland, while the third place was won by Czechs Pavla Hoderova (22) and Jana Jankova (24).

Following the European Champions' Cup in November 2007, this was the second European event hosted in Wroclaw, Poland. It was well organized by the Polish Bridge Union, and the local committee headed by Stanislaw Golebiowski.

The 2008 European Youth Pairs Championships was held in Wroclaw, Poland, on 15-18 July.

This was a new version of the concept, first introduced in Fiesch, Switzerland, in 1991. That competition, open to all EBL member countries, was designed to be a massive event, addressing all levels of players except the very weak ones. It was played in four sessions, all with the barometer system (whereby running results are instantly available). The EBL kept its sole auspices of the Championship until the 2nd edition held in Oberreifenberg, Germany, two years later. In 1995, and in compliance with the EBL, the 3rd edition was taken over by the WBF and became a natural supplement to the World Youth Teams competition for the Ortiz-Patiño Trophy, open to all WBF member countries. The event continued as a World competition, incorporating the corresponding European competition. for over a decade. In 2006, a separate Schools series was added for the first time. However, the 2006 competition was also the last of the series of the World Youth Pair Championships organized by both the WBF and EBL. In all these years, the World Youth Pair Championships were conveniently held in conjunction with the World Junior Camp on consecutive dates and at the same or nearby places.

This year, the 9th edition of the Championships was a pure European event once again. Junior Camps have been discontinued, but a Girls series was added. Accordingly, from now on, there will be three series in the Championships: pairs for 'Under 26' open (formerly 'Juniors'), 'Under 21' (formerly 'Schools') and 'Girls'. All three series are for National Pairs only, i.e. that both players from each pair must come from the same NBO; transnational pairs are no longer permitted.

• For a complete list of the previous events, their venues and winners, click here.
• To see the reigning champions, click here to go to the 6th World Youth Pairs Championships website.

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