Bridge rules Bridge strategy & bidding Bridge championships

Benito Garozzo

Benito Garozzo (born 5 September 1927) is an Italian American bridge player. He won 13 world championship titles with the Italian Blue Team, starting in 1961 when he was added as a last minute substitute for the Bermuda Bowl, playing in regular partnerships with Pietro Forquet to 1972 and then with Giorgio Belladonna. During those championship years he came to be considered by many experts the world's best bridge player.


Garozzo was born in Naples, Italy, at a time when his family lived primarily in Cairo, Egypt, but Naples was a second, summer home of his mother, four sisters and brother. At age six his brother taught him tresette, a partnership trick-taking game with dummy play. He also learned chess from his brother. During World War II, he lived at a sister's home in Naples, where family and friends played partnership games including tresette. During 1943 they started to play bridge with reference to a Culbertson book from 1933. After the war he returned to Cairo "and met better bridge payers and I improved my game reading more recent books and playing the dummy on Auto Bridge." In 1984 he settled in Naples where he owned a jewelry business as of 1984.

Garozzo is user sillafu at Bridge Base Online. He has lived in the United States since 1987 and has been a citizen since January 1994. He is divorced with a son and daughter; his life partner for more than 30 years was Lea Dupont of Rockland, Delaware (also Italy and Florida). They were second in the quadrennial, 1998 World Senior Pairs Championship and won a major North American tournament for senior teams in 2009. She died on 6 April 2012.


Forquet and Garozzo used the Blue Club bidding system, which they developed based on the Neapolitan Club that Forquet had used with its creator Eugenio Chiaradia, the "Professor" of the early Blue Team. They wrote one book on the system together, published in 1967 (Il Fiori Blue Team, in Italian, or the Blue Team Club), and Garozzo wrote another with Léon Yallouze (1968, in French). The Blue Team as "Italy" won nine consecutive then-annual world team championships, all of the seven Bermuda Bowl and two quadrennial World Team Olympiad tournaments from 1961 to 1969, retired for two years, and returned to win the 1972 Olympiad.

The Blue Team had used six players without any change in personnel for the latter seven of those ten tournaments. Three of them retired after 1972, including Belladonna's longtime partner Walter Avarelli. Belladonna-Garozzo then established a partnership and co-created their advanced version of the Precision Club system called "Super Precision". With four other players sometimes including Forquet, they won for Italy three more world team championships in succession, the 1973 to 1975 Bermuda Bowls.

During the championship years Garozzo came to be considered the best defender of all time. As such, he was nicknamed il sottomarino (the submarine) as a metaphor of his ability to "see under the water". As of 5 September 2011, when he became 84, he was proud of being able to play 10 different bidding systems.

After the death of Lea DuPont, in the spring of 2012, Benito Garozzo returned to live in Italy and started to play newly at high level: on June 2013, (86 y.o.), was runner up in the European Transnational Open Championships, with Zaleski's Team.


Bridge accomplishments