HORN LAKE, Miss., Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With his charismatic personality and signature glasses, Zia Mahmood of both New York, New York and London, England is a living legend among tournament bridge players. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) announces he has earned his fifth Player of the Year honor, having won more platinum masterpoints – the metric of accomplishment in the bridge world – than any other ACBL member during the 2012 calendar year. Mahmood participated in each of the three annual North American Bridge Championships (NABC) sponsored by the ACBL and placed in events at each tournament. Winning the Nail Life Master Open Pairs in San Francisco gave him the masterpoints he needed to capture the honor.
Nearly five decades into his bridge career, beginning first in his native Pakistan then transitioning to America during the 1980s, his introduction to bridge actually began with a white lie to get a girl.
"She was only allowed to attend bridge parties, so I lied and said I played," Mahmood admitted. "Over the course of the next two weeks playing bridge and meeting her, I fell more in love with the game than with her."
With a bridge column appearing in London's The Guardian until January 2012, his success as an international bridge player has earned him accolades from accomplished players worldwide, including fellow Pakistani bridge player, Omar Sharif.
"To ask a bridge player why he continues to love the game is like asking a dad why he can never stop loving his kids," said Mahmood. "I'm like a lot of players: I still have the same highs and frustration I did at the beginning, but most of all, the same addiction and intoxication. I am still looking for the perfect hand."
Three NABCs will take place in the United States this year: St. Louis, March 14-24; Atlanta, August 1-11; and Phoenix, November 28-December 8.
About the ACBL
The game of bridge attracts players of all ages and walks of life - from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to tennis star Martina Navratilova. Founded in 1937, the ACBL is the largest bridge organization in the world, serving 165,000 members, 3,200 bridge clubs and sanctioning 1,100 sectional and regional tournaments annually. The ACBL's three North American Bridge Championships each attract up to 5,000 players representing every state in the United States, Canada and about 20 other foreign countries. For more information and to join the ACBL, visit www.acbl.org.
SOURCE American Contract Bridge League