Lorenzo Lauria, Star of the
Italian National Team, by Fernando Lema.
(English Translation: Lely Garino...thanks...)
He is sixty-three years old. Born
and living in Rome. World Grand Master and European
Grand Master. Married to Cristiana and father of Roberto
(15) and Anna (12). He plays in the Italian National
Team and in the Angelini Team.
His professional bridge career
started in 1972.
Among his many victories, we can
mention Olympics, European Tournaments, MEC Couples,
Cavendish Cup, Rosemblum Cup, Vanderbilt Cup, IOC Grand
Prix, Reisinger Cup, Forbo Teams, Spingold Cup,
Australian Summer NOT, Italian Team Tournaments, Italian
His latest win, Gold Medallist in
the First World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, China,
held in October 2008, in the Open Teams category.
Here is Mr. Bridge...Lorenzo
During the recent 2008 First World
Mind Games in Beijing, China, I had the opportunity to
chat with a World Bridge great: Lorenzo Lauria, who
kindly spent some time with me... Many thanks
A few days later Italy won the
Gold medal at the Games.
1) How did you start playing
I began in the military
service, my commander was very keen... He introduced me
to bridge...There was a group that played every day...
They put money in a pot and at the end of the month
whoever had the most points won the pot.
I was once punished for 10 days,
and used the time to read a Culbertson book ...
complete...over and over...you may say that I was self
2) What happened afterwards?
After military service I had
developed a strong passion for bridge...I wanted to keep
playing and looked for places to do it... At the same
time I began my studies in economics and commerce and I
quit bridge for a year...
Things were different then, 40
years ago it was very difficult to break into the bridge
After an year I met a school
friend, Maximo Dato, who was already a good player and
had played in some nationals as a junior, he
reintroduced me to the game. Maximo still plays and
quite well too...
My first tournament partner was
Memo Danese, but I couldn't qualify for the national
team... It was very hard to get in.
3) When did you join the
In 1979 I succeeded in
entering the national team as a partner of Benito
Garozzo; we played in the Lucerna Tournament as a
threesome with Giorgio Belladona... That year I won my
first European title... Ever since then I have been a
member of the team, and only missed one tournament, in
4) When and how did you turn
Back then it was virtually
impossible to make a living with bridge... It was just a
modest complement to my salary.
In 1966 after winning the European
tournament in Portugal, Francesco Angelini, a school
friend, decided to sponsor the Italian team ... That
changed my life... After that, I played bridge full
5) What was your first world
In 1998, the Rosemblum Cup,
which was played in Lille, France. Up to that moment, I
had missed to finals against the U.S. for only 5 IMPs in
the last hands.
6) What was your greatest joy
My greatest satisfaction was
in Estoril, Portugal, when I won my first Bermuda Bowl...I
cried with emotion.
7) And your biggest
In the World Tournament in
Montecarlo, we lost in the last hand... I touched a card
in dummy and I was penalized, so I missed an easy hand,
and we lost by a mere 3 IMPs...
8) Recently an Argentine player,
Agustin Madala, was hired by the "Lavazza Team". What do
you think of him as a player?
Agustin is wonderful, he has an
incredible future. We played against him in Istambul...
I was impressed by his game. He reminded me of my son,
which really touched me and led me to present him with
the medal that we had won that year... his talent really
moved me... He is a little presumptuous, needs to change
his ways... He has incredible potential... But in order
to improve he has to understand that he still needs to
learn... Agustin's carding is superb, but his bidding
still has room for improvement...
9) What do you think of bridge
prospects at this time?
Right now there is no turnover,
unfortunately not enough sponsors. Young kids that would
like to make a living with bridge cannot afford it full
10) How did your partnership
with Alfredo (Alfredo Versace) start?
I started playing with
Alfredo around 1991, a minor sponsor invited us to join
the team, offering to pay us, and that is how we started...
At the time we had to play the
sponsor's system by contract. We did so well that we
decided to put together a natural system for us. We
studied every morning for years. To me. Alfredo is the
best player in the world.
Alfredo is not too fond of
studying... he has great natural talent. But great skill
must be supported with hard work. For years I worked
alone and then we would get together to discuss what I
Building a system is very
difficult and delicate work. We were influenced by
Benito Garozzo, he taught us how to put together a
system, how to create it. Our goal always was to find a
balance between the natural and the scientific systems.
Nowadays Antonio Sementa and
Giorgio Duboin are playing an adaptation of our system...
11) Do you play professional in
Ten years ago I started
playing with Jacobs, and we won 2 Vanderbilts, 2
Spingolds and 2 Reisingers, plus 1 BAM.
12) Which bridge book do you
remember the most?
"Play bridge with Reese"...
In fact, it is the only bridge book I remember...
13) Why did you introduce the
opening in your system?
When I used to open 1
with a balanced hand and the opponents interfered, I had
no way of describing whether my hand was balanced or not.
This opening offered a world of possibilities, although
I must say it is not my favorite.
14) What tournaments still turn
World tournaments and US
Nationals... Everything else is work...
15) How long do you plan to
keep on playing?
Till 2011 for sure, because
I have a contract with Angelini. If by then I have
enough, I'll stop. I will never play Seniors...
16) What is the difference
between men's and women's games?
Women have great analytical
ability, but they fail in synthesis, bridge is a whole,
after analysis comes synthesis, and that's their
shortcoming... There is also a difference in feeling, women
are much more emotional... At the table that emotional
difference often overwhelms them...
17) How would you describe your
life as a bridge pro?
I feel fortunate because it
is not easy to achieve rewarding results from an
economic and sports standpoint, and I have obtained both,
but it is a stressful life...
18) Which conventions do you
There are four conventions
that will always exist in bridge: mainly Stayman and
Blackwood, together with Josephine and Landy, they
changed the bridge world.
19) What about two-suiters?
We play a modified Gesthem...
20) What would you advise South
American players to do in order to upgrade their game?
Study our system (click
here to see the Lauria-Versace system)