Zia Mahmood

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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.[1]

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.[2] 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).[2] 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]

Nickell has replaced Hamman and Zia with Bobby LevinSteve Weinstein.[3]

It was reported in November that Zia will play for Marty Fleisher in partnership with Chip Martel.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

The ACBL Hall of Fame inducted Zia in 2007.[7] According to the citation sometime that year, he was a London resident. He has two sons, Zain and Rafi Mahmood, with Lady Emma, his wife of five years, daughter of Neil Primrose, 7th Earl of Rosebery.[2]

Zia won the ACBL's 3-day Life Master Pairs championship in 2000, 2004, and 2007 with three different partners. After placing second in the 85th rendition, July 2014, he is a 3-time winner and 5-time runner-up with seven different partners.


  • ACBL Hall of Fame, 2007[7]
  • 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



See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.


  1. ^ "Open World Grand Masters" (table). World Bridge Federation.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Mahmodd, Zia". Hall of Fame. ACBL. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
  3. ^ Levin–Weinstein Joining Nickell in 2012 (2011-07-05). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  4. ^ Martel and Stansby to Go Separate Ways (2011-11-25). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b "Induction by Year". Hall of Fame. ACBL. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
  8. ^ "von Zedtwitz LM Previous Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2014-06-18. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  9. ^ "Blue Ribbon Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-03. p. 7. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  10. ^ "Life Master Open Pairs Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-11-29. p. 4. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  11. ^ "Jacoby Open Swiss Previous Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2014-03-29. p. 9. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  12. ^ "Vanderbilt Previous Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2014-03-24. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  13. ^ "Mitchell BAM Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-01. p. 8. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  14. ^ "Mixed BAM Previous Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2014-07-24. p. 14. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  15. ^ "Reisinger Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2013-12-06. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  16. ^ "Spingold Previous Winners" (PDF). American Contract Bridge League. 2014-07-21. p. 12. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 

External links[edit]