August 12, 2014

Ahsan clinch Aslam bridge title


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Ahsan, comprising of Ahsan Zahir Rizvi, Anwer Kizilbash, Shaikh Abdul Muqeet, Ziaullah Baig and Wajahat Suri, who are due to represent Pakistan in the upcoming Commonwealth Bridge Championship in Glasgow, proved its supremacy by winning the 19th edition of the Aslam Memorial Bridge Tournament, held under the auspices of the Karachi Bridge Associates (KBA), at the Aslam Bridge Hall, housed in the National Stadium, Karachi, over the weekend. 

According to the details made available by the KBA, Ahsan claimed the trophy by having a total score of 96.07 Victory Points (VPs). Puri Real Estate ended as the runners-up with 89.60 VPs while Data Steel came third with 81.55 VPs and defending champions Bilal finished fourth with 78.71 VPs, just edging out Rainbow (76.87 VPs) to the fifth position. Kamran (56.40 VPs), Foxy (41.75 VPs) and Bridge Aces (38.05 VPs) shared the last three positions. 

The event was spread over two days, based on six rounds of Swiss movement. It was contested by eight of the top outfits of the country, five of whom were classified as the live contenders while the other three were described as the dark horses. 

The tournament, an annual feature in the bridge calendar for nearly a couple of decades now,was organized in the memory of the late Mohammad Aslam Shaikh, a former Secretary of the Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), who was murdered in August 1995. The PBF and the KBA jointly instituted the event in 1996 and it has been held every year since then. 

Ahsan, the eventual champions, were in the driving seat even at the halfway stage of the proceedings with Bilal, the defending champions, marginally behind. Puri Real Estate were placed third while Rainbow, Data Steel, Kamran and Bridge Aces were fighting it out for the middle places and Foxy looking down the barrel. 

On the second day, Ahsan consolidated their position by taming Foxy in the fourth round before whipping Kamran in the next round. They were surprised by Rainbow in the penultimate round but recovered to overcome title hopeful Bilal, led by the indomitable Gulzar Bilal, in the seventh and final round to secure the trophy. 

Puri Real Estate, featuring Rashid Jaffer, Junaid Said, Khaled Mohiuddin, Tehsin Gheewala and Mubashir Puri, the youngest of them all, lost to Rainbow in the fourth round, but added 15.79 against Data Steel, added a maximum 20.00 outpointing Bridge Aces and finally outscored Kamran, 14.56 to finish runners-up with a total score of 89.60 VPs. 

Data Steel, having the services of Javed Ahmed Miran, Tahir Masood, Rashid-ul-Ghazi, Shakeel Ahmed Chandna and Tariq Rasheed Khan, made a forceful comeback on the second day of the competition. They gained near maximum points in their last couple of matches, against Foxy and Rainbow, to finish third in the points table. 

While the organizers deserved the credit for continuing to hold the tournament in the memory of one of the most eminent bridge personalities of the country, they could mobilize their resources in attracting greater number of teams to participate in its future editions.

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