Michael Rosenberg)

Zia Mahmood needs a bio less than any other world-class bridge player.  His name is probably the best known in the game, and his countless successes have been widely publicized.

His triumphs have come with many different partners. It seems that he plays each National Pair game with a different partner, yet his name is always up there on the leaderboard – often on top. And lest you think his main skill is taking advantage of some of the weaker parts of the field, you should note that he has won the prestigious invitational Cap Gemini tournament (which no longer exists, but was the premier pairs event in the world) SIX times, with 4 different partners.

Almost nobody can play the game on Zia’s level, and just occasionally he reminds his partners of that fact.  However, there is some relief for these poor souls. A support group has been formed – ziaanon – and the sharing at the twice-monthly meetings has been enough to prevent permanent scarring on the psyche of those who have had the fortune(?) of sitting opposite Zia.

Several years ago, Zia stunned millions of bridge groupies by marrying and then having two children. I believe his priorities now are family, golf, haute cuisine and bridge, in that order. However, winning this Trials would put him in the 2007 Bermuda Bowl and, if that happens, his priorities will be temporarily altered. Winning a major World Championship is the only accomplishment his resume is missing.