Norberto Bocchi: Assistant Coach of the Nickell Team

Let’s start from the 21st July 2020. How did your life change after Maria Teresa’s death?

Norberto Bocchi: People never die if you hold them in your heart. You lose their presence, their voice…but what they taught you and what you experienced with them remains forever. Maria Teresa represents 40 years of life together, like a second mother. From a professional point of view it has been a shock. I have been playing exclusively for Lavazza since 1981 so I felt lost, not knowing what would happen next. Luckily Giuseppe Lavazza, her son, wanted Giorgio and I to carry on the tradition: we often play with Manuela Calandra, Giuseppe’s wife, and we will try to bring on one of their children who is passionate about cards.

How is Italian bridge doing without her?

NB: No one can replace Maria Teresa. We are going through a tumultuous phase and many mistakes are being made.

What happened to the Allegra Lavazza team after July 2020?

NB: Without her, keeping the team together did not make sense. She loved the game and supported it, she loved her players and treated them well. Now each of us is on their own journey, more or less successfully.

Can you confirm that you will become the assistant coach of the Nickell team in the Salsomaggiore Bermuda Bowl?

NB: Yes. Nickell, his players and I resprct each other. I have played for years in Jacobs’ team with Katz. For two years I played with Hampson in O’ Rourke’s team. Levin, Weinstein and I are true friends. It is an honour to become part of this dream team. I will do my best to help them achieve better results, although they do not need me for that!

You are not playing with Sementa, why?

NB: It is a shame I could not create a top pair with my two previous partners. As in all circumstances, hidden forces move players around like pawns, sometimes leading to disagreements that cannot be resolved. I am currently working on a partnership with a player around the world or a sponsor who would like to play with me. Let’s see if I can create another ‘annoying’ pair.

What is your forecast for the Bermuda Bowl?

NB: Nickell (USA1), Norway and Switzerland. Then USA2 and Netherlands.

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Laura Camponeschi

(article modified on January 30, 2022)

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