reading through some old Russian quake 3 player stuff and found this which explains the origins of the russian style (keyboard on lap) The interview is with Polosatiy.

The Russian team attracted quite some attention by the way they play: Mitsumi mice, keyboards on your legs and screen size reduced to 14" - quite a special sight! What's the story behind this setup?

Hehe. It's pretty funny. The keyboard - in my childhood, I've damaged ligaments on my hand, and that stopped me from playing football (semi-professionally) and tennis. Later, when I started to play computer games, I simply couldn't keep my hands in a normal position for a long time. So I was the first player who played in a such way. So everybody thought that this is what makes me good, and did the same :). The mouse - my first club, where I began to play, was pretty poor and had only Mitsumi mouses installed. So i just got used and played with it. Again, everyone thought that this was my secret to success :). About the screen size - I'll tell you, that Pow3r was playing Q2 with viewsize 60 :), and he did pretty well... So, basically, everyone just got used to smaller monitors.