35th World Interzonal Team Championships, Paris, France

Wednesday, 24 October  2001


A Direct Line with Lorenzo Lauria


By Mabel Bocchi


54 years old. Born and living in Rome. World Grand Master and European Grand Master. Divorced and remarried with Cristiana and father to Roberto (9 years old) and Anna (5 years old). Plays in the Italian National Team and also the Lavazza Team. In his competitive playing career, which began in '72, he has won many titles both for Italy and at club level. His most important gold medal victories are: Olympiad 2000, European Championships '79 - '95 - '97 - 2001, MEC Pairs '79, Cavendish Teams '96 - '97, Rosemblum Cup '98 - Vanderbilt Cup '99 - IOC Grand Prix '99, Reisinger Cup 2000 - Forbo Teams 2001, Spingold Cup 2001, Australian Summer NOT 2001, 7 Italian Team Championships, 5 times Coppa Italia. Hobbies: stock exchange and sport in general.


What experience in life has most influenced you?


My life has been characterised by a serious of periods, all very different from one another, and from each one I've absorbed something which has contributed to the man I am today. However, the experience which influenced me most in the following years was military service since that was when I took up bridgeplaying. This passion was so great that firstly it took me away from my studies (Business and Economics) and then it became the sole interest in my life, even though at that time it gave me very little or nothing in return.


Despite this admission, we discover an unexpected and seemingly inexplicable gap in your medal winning around the 1970's. What happened?


I threw myself heart and soul into the sect of Guru Baghuan. I was with them all day while at night, to make money to live, I played poker and suchlike. Then the Guru fell into disgrace and with him the movement he had founded and I re-entered the bridge world, started competing and winning.


Sullen, undemonstrative, apparently stroppy, nicknamed by his companions "Baluba" (yobbo), is there something you'd like to change in your character or are you happy as you are?


I'm satisfied as I am, also because living with my character and with others is fine. In fact I can safely say that, despite appearances, I'm a very relaxed person.


What is Lorenzo the father and husband like? Can you define yourself with two adjectives?


Affectionate with the children, and patient with my wife Cristiana … even though she thinks otherwise.


Have you ever felt yourself prisoner of something or someone?


Yes, of my passions. Throughout the years when I have been attracted to something or someone I have lived the experience, good or bad, fully and right to the end, never being able to withhold.


If you weren't a full-time bridgeplayer what would you like to be?


A criminal lawyer.


Does friendship exist between bridgeplayers?


In bridge the play has a big influence and rarely, although I don't exclude it all together, is there an emotional or friendly relationship between players of different levels.


If we scratch away the surface of your "difficult" character we discover what?…


That in essence I'm exactly as you see. Perhaps throughout the years I've changed a little and I've found that I do actually possess certain qualities which at one time would have seemed unthinkable in my character....


For example?


I'm now much more self-controlled and so by keeping instict at bay, I've become almost thoughtful.

It's said that who wins in bridge is he who makes least mistakes… and you have won a lot. There must have been some absolutely crushing oversight…

I have made countless blunders but there was one in particular which cost us the Coppa Italia: it was back in '76 and we were playing the last hand in the last session. Well, I failed the contract miserably, dragging the team into second place.


And in your private life do you recall any mistake which cost you dearly?


I've no doubt about it: my first marriage.


When does love finally end?


When you become fully aware of the situation, no longer creating excuses and false hopes.


What really makes you laugh?


Irony in general, directed either towards others or myself … but in the latter case, I accept it only from friends.


What do you find intolerable in the bridge world?


Presumptious behaviour and narcissism, which are unfortunately very common at all levels.

And on the other hand what continues you to surpries you in a positive sense?


The incredible magnetism that this game always creates... a sort of fatal attraction.

I am relaxed when...

no-one pisses me off.