Giorgio Belladonna

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Giorgio Belladonna (7 June 1923 – 12 May 1995)[1] was an Italian bridge player, one of the greatest of all time.[2] He won 16 world championship titles with the Blue Team, playing with Walter Avarelli from 1956 to 1969[2] and later with Benito Garozzo. A leading theoretician, he was the principal inventor of the Roman Club bidding system, from 1956, and with Benito Garozzo after 1969 created Super Precision, a complex strong club based method.[3] He was known as much for his mercurial temperament as for the brilliance of his card play; see, for example, Belladonna coup.

Belladonna died of lung cancer, according to his daughter, on 12 May 1995 in Rome. He was survived by his wife Maria Antoinetta, one daughter, one son, and two grandchildren.[2]

Alan Truscott described him as "a cheerful extrovert" and "normally unflappable at the table".[4] He had been "a potential soccer star, but World War II interrupted that career path". He worked in the Social Security Administration until 1970.[2]

Bridge accomplishments[edit]

World championships

Belladonna won 16 world championships, all as a member of the Italy open team-of-four.

From 1957 to 1969 the Blue Team with nearly uniform personnel and partnerships won all 10 Bermuda Bowl tournaments (after 1959, as defending champion with another European champion in the field). It placed 6th in the inaugural 1960 Olympiad tournament and won the 1964 and 1968 renditions. After 1969 there were some retirements, including Avarelli's, and some rearrangements, including Belladonna's and Garozzo's establishment of their partnership.[2] In 1975 Italy won its last open team world championship (until 2005) with Belladonna and Garozzo alone "survivors from the great Blue Team".[5]


  • Bermuda Bowl 1976, 1979, 1983
  • World Team Olympiad 1976
European championships
  • European Open Teams (10) 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1979


  • European Open Teams (3) 1962, 1977, 1983


  1. ^ "Blue Streak of Success". Enzo Bacarni; apparently incorporating a section by Zia Mahmoud. The Guardian. 8 June 1995. Page 15.
  2. ^ a b c d e Alan Truscott. "Giorgio Belladonna, 72, Player On Fabled Italian Bridge Team" (obituary). The New York Times. 14 May 1995. Retrieved 2015-01-15. Quote: "died Friday in Rome".
  3. ^ Brian Senior, ed. [probable writer]. "The All-Time Bridge Greats (10): Giorgio Belladonna" Archived 24 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. 18th European Youth Team Championships: Daily Bulletin (Torquay, England). European Bridge League. Bulletin 11 (17 July 2002). Page 3.
  4. ^ Alan Truscott. "Bridge: The late Giorgio Belladonna is recalled in a deal that led to an unlikely and unbeatable contract" (follow-up bridge column). The New York Times. 20 May 1995. Page 18.
  5. ^ Alan Truscott. "Bridge: The death of Vito Pittala, an Italian expert, recalls a historic world championship." The New York Times. 23 March 1996. Page 19.

External links[edit]

  • "International record for Giorgio Belladonna". World Bridge Federation. Edit this at Wikidata
  • Giorgio Belladonna at Library of Congress Authorities, with 9 catalogue records (including 5 "from old catalog")