Zia Mahmood (born January 7, 1946) is a Pakistani professional bridge player. He is a World Bridge Federation and American Contract Bridge League Grand Life Master. As of April 2011 he was the 10th-ranked World Grand Master.
Zia was born in Karachi. He achieved international bridge fame almost overnight during one fortnight in 1981 when he led Pakistan to second place Bermuda Bowl tournament. The Bermuda Bowl is the most important open world championship and that was the first participation by anyone from the current geographic zone "Asia and the Middle East", also tie for the best finish by anyone from outside Europe and the United States. (Brazil having won in 1989, it remains tie for best finish by anyone from outside Europe and the Americas.)
Five years later, Zia led a short-handed team from Pakistan to second place in the Rosenblum Cup tournament, which is the open world championship in even-number non-Olympic years (1986). That remains tie for best finish by anyone from the outskirts. The event is transnational, but none of the nine winning teams has included a single player from outside Europe and the United States.
Zia Mahmood is the author of Bridge My Way, an autobiography, and has hosted many TV shows. For many years his regular partner was Masood Salim (deceased), followed by Michael Rosenberg, and now Bob Hamman—as members of Nick Nickell's professional team through spring 2012.
Beginning 2012/2013,[n 1]
Recently Zia has represented the United States in world competition, and thus he won his first major world championship, the 2009 Bermuda Bowl. (He won the quadrennial Mixed Teams in 2004 with Sabine Auken and a French pair.) He still considers himself Pakistani, however: "I am proud and happy to be representing America, but my Pakistani identity is in no way submerged. I feel like a Pakistani who is living in America and playing for America." To prove his point, Zia and his American teammates once played their opening match in Pakistani dress.
Zia was educated in England from the age of six to twenty-one. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant of the Institute of England and Wales and spent three years running the family newspaper chain in Pakistan. He also spent eighteen months in Abu Dhabi developing business interests.
Recently he spends much of his time in Great Britain and the United States and is very much part of the London bridge scene. He wrote a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper until January 2012, when the paper stopped covering bridge.
- ACBL Hall of Fame, 2007
- ACBL Honorary Member of the Year 2006
- ACBL Player of the Year 1991, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2012
- Mott-Smith Trophy 1991, 1996
- Herman Trophy 2005, 2012
- IBPA Award (Personality of the Year) 2007
- Le Bridgeur Award (Best Played Hand of the Year) 1984
- Romex Award (Best Bid Hand of the Year) 1983, 1987
- Precision Award (Best Defended Hand of the Year) 1995
- Bermuda Bowl (1) 2009
- World Transnational Mixed Teams (1) 2004
- North American Bridge Championships (22)
- Vanderbilt (2) 1994, 1996
- Spingold (2) 1991, 2003
- Reisinger (4) 1987, 1989, 1996, 2008
- Open Board-a-Match Teams (4) 1991, 1996, 2006, 2008
- Jacoby Open Swiss Teams (1) 2009
- Mixed Board-a-Match Teams (1) 1999
- Blue Ribbon Pairs (1) 1998
- Life Master Pairs (4) 2000, 2004, 2007, 2012
- Life Master Open Pairs (4) 1990, 1991, 2005, 2007
- United States Bridge Championships (3)
- Open Team Trials (3) 1997, 1999, 2006
- Asia & the Middle East Championships (5)
- Open Teams (5) 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1991
- Other notable wins:
- Buffett Cup (1) 2006
- Richard Lederer Memorial Trophy (7) 1978, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006
- Cavendish Invitational Teams (1) 1986
- Staten Bank World Top Invitational Pairs (1) 1988
- Cap Gemini Pandata World Top Invitational Pairs (1) 1992
- Cap Volmac World Top Invitational Pairs (1) 1995
- Cap Gemini World Top Invitational Pairs (2) 1998, 2000
- Cap Gemini Ernst & Young World Top Invitational Pairs (1) 2001
- Politiken World Pairs (1) 1995
- Omar Sharif Individual (1) 1990
- Portland Club Individual (1) 1990
- Gold Cup (1) 2010
- Bermuda Bowl (2) 1981, 2007
- Rosenblum Cup (1) 1986
- World Open Pairs (1) 2002
- North American Bridge Championships (20)
- United States Bridge Championships (5)
- Open Team Trials (5) 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005
- Other notable 2nd places:
- Buffett Cup (1) 2008
- Forbo-Krommenie International Teams (1) 1997
- Cavendish Invitational Teams (2) 1995, 2006
- Cavendish Invitational Pairs (1) 1998
- "Your Deal, Mr. Bond", a published James Bond short story in which the secret agent impersonates Mahmood
- "Adil Omar", a rapper/singer-songwriter and Mahmood's grand-nephew
- The current cycle for major professional teams in the United States covers 2011 and 2012 world championships, which are contested in the second half of the calendar year. New commitments begin in July but do not interfere with the world stage of the previous cycle. "Rosenberg-Willenken Joining Fleisher in 2012" by Martin Fleisher (2011-07-13). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-15. See the clarification by Fleisher in the comments.
- "Open World Grand Masters" (table). World Bridge Federation.[dead link]
- Zia Mahmood b. 1946, ACBL Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
- Levin–Weinstein Joining Nickell in 2012 (2011-07-05). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- Martel and Stansby to Go Separate Ways (2011-11-25). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- Zia Mahmood. Based on a poolside interview at the 1997 world championships in Hammamet, Tunisia. "Archives of Sid & Abby", South Africa. Confirmed 2011-09-01.
- Through August 2011 there are 271 numbers online.
Bridge. Archive of weekly column by Zia Mahmood, 2005-08-13 to date, The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-08-27.
- Citation at the ACBL Hall of Fame
- Zia Mahmood international record at the World Bridge Federation.
- Nickell Team at the United States Bridge Federation (2009?) – with player profiles
- Profile at Bridge Winners
- Zia Mahmood at Library of Congress Authorities, with catalog records