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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 Cup, etc.
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 Lauria.
______________________________________________________________________
 
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 Lorenzo...

 

A few days later Italy won the Gold medal at the Games.

 

1) How did you start playing bridge?

 

     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 instructed...

 

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 scene...

 

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 national team?

 

    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 Malta...

 

4) When and how did you turn pro?

 

     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 time...

 

5) What was your first world title?

 

     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 in bridge?

 

     My greatest satisfaction was in Estoril, Portugal, when I won my first Bermuda Bowl...I cried with emotion.

 

7) And your biggest disappointment?

 

     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 time...

 

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 had developed...

 

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 the US?

 

       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 strong 2 opening in your system?

 

        When I used to open 1 or 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 you on?

 

       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 deem essential?

 

       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)  Click aquí).