Norberto Bocchi, are many years since you’re on the top of international bridge: How did you feel being called for European Championship? Are you still capable of emotion? I’m proud, of course, to represent my country, and I have worked with my partner for being a competitive pair in such high level tourney.
I feel me prepared, and this makes me serene. The emotion, the excitement cannot be avoided, but it’s a sound and natural force that enhances my desire to play better.
You’re now playing with a young: Augustin Madala; would you sketch his profile? What about the man? What about the bridgeplayer?
As bridgeplayer he reminds me of the young Alfredo Versace. He’s a very strong cardplayer, also the Americans think this. Maybe when he has came in Italy he still weren’t a strong bidder, but after the teaching of Guido Ferraro and Antonio Sementa, that are both strong bidders, he has greatly increased his skill. As a man he’s young, and as a young he owns the sins of the youthful. He’s a bit choleric, but after he promptly apologizes. He’s very nice, so the people that know him love him.
You and Giorgio Duboin have been one of the strongest pair in the world. How did happen the breaking up of such a winning partnership?
After twenty years, and after many victories, we had lost the boost. Sementa and Madala were available for new partnerships and we are trying to build the new ones. This new experience has imbued both, me and Duboin, with an enthusiasm that none of us had since long time.
Can you talk about the teams that we’ll face in Ostenda? Who are more fearsome?
Undoubtedly, Poland and Holland are the strongest; after come Sweden, Russia and Norway – the latter without their strongest pair.
Please, depict a short profile of the Blue Team.
Well, Versace is a wonderful player: the strongest in the world. Lorenzo Lauria is our lighthouse; he shows us what to do, and with his experience he influences us positively. Sementa has a very accurate technique and he conveys to us his winning will. Duboin is a bridge textbook; for twenty years he has been my perfect partner with his discipline and careful technique. Madala is the incoming future in our Team, young and enthusiastic but not frenzied. ( Luckily, he had an Italian father).
And what about…Norberto Bocchi?
I consider myself as the badly behaved boy of the company. I’m sometimes a little undisciplined, but my life, in bridge meaning, is driven by sensations that usually bring me in good results. My partners know this and accept me; needs to say that lately I have became less excited. Needs to say too that all we six have character defects; anyway, I’m not going to tell you what are [smiling].
Can you predict who’ll win?
We aren’t anymore the favourites. I think that a good result would be to enter between the first three, but it’s very important to enter between the first six, for having the right to play in World Championships. Of course, well’ play for winning.
Now about you: I admit that’s difficult, in a great career such your one, to tell what has been the finest victory, nevertheless I ask: what has been the event that you remember with more emotion?
This event sure has been the 2000’s Maastricht Olympic games. I remember it because it has been an hard fought contest and it was my first Olympiad and, moreover, for the great work that I have done: the Captain forced me and my partner to play ever. Ever!
Which person do you consider your master? Does exist one that you ought to be grateful? Well, I mean: being you eager to thank someone that have helped you, who’s this one?
I think that the person that have more supported me is Mrs Lavazza. I’m playing for her Team since thirty years. She allowed me to play with the greatest champions: Garozzo, Belladonna, Versace, Pittalà, Ferraro, Duboin. Maria Teresa Lavazza has gift to me the means for being free to play bridge and for win what I have won.
What books you suggest our readers to study?
Reading bridge is useful. All is good that forces you to think about Bridge.
What does Norberto Bocchi do when he doesn’t play bridge?
I love my family. I have a son one yo and another three yo. Their names are Luca and Adriana, and I’m happy of them, not saying about my wife: she’s a saint woman that tolerates me [smiling]. I play the golf too, and I like the good cookery.
by Laura Camponeschi, transalted by Paolo Enrico Garrisi
April 25, 2010