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Azhar, Shauq excel as Balijee Bridge starts

Azhar Hameed and Shauq Hussain looked formidable on first day Balijee International Bridge Championship here on Sunday.

Azhar Hameed and Shauq Hussain looked formidable on first day Balijee International Bridge Championship here on Sunday.

The 14th edithion of the championship went off to a start at 10.00 am with the finest of Pakistan’s bridge stars occupying the bridge tables of Lahore Gymkhana.

The first day was reserved for the pairs’ event, which in bridge is like the Twenty 20 game in cricket and during the first  session and  22 Boards visible throughout the competition was flow of glorified moves by the masters which resulted in the pair of Azhar Hameed and Shauq Hussain  appearing in front. A further 42 boards will be played today and the pairs’ event will conclude around mid-day on Monday after a further 22 boards.There after the main Team Event will get going for the next two and a half days.

The Balijee Championship is a prestigious event held to honor the memory of Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal, affectionately known as Balijee to his friends and bridge mates and from the moment his son Aijaz Ahmed   declared the Balijee bridge open at 10.00 a.m. yesterday , the champions took on the reigns and galloped at a pace which the lesser skilled ones failed to match.

On the tables were international players of significance like Rashid ul Ghazi, Tehseen Gheewala, Kamran Ibrahim, Masood Mazhar, Mubashir Puri,Gulzar Bilal,Ghalib Bandesha,and Asad Maqbool.

The international community was represented by Azza Qashu,Randa Saket,Aida Abujaber, Sakher Malkawi,Mais Bitar and Hala Dajani from Jordan and the sole representative from India is Sappan Desai.

A total of 90 players divided into  45 pairs, launched themselves to produce enough ripples to cause a stir amongst the high profiles ones but ultimately it was the fancied ones who ended the day looking formidable and the scores stand as follows:

Azhar Hameed & Shauq Hussain 68.24, Rashidul Ghazi & Tehseen Gheewala 65.56, Kamran Ibrahim & Mazsood Azhar 65.40, Col Nasir & Abdul Hameed 62.63, Muhammad Shafiq & Shahid Rafique 59.34, Sappan Desai & Mubashir Puri 58.45, Ghulam Mohammad & Anwar Kizilbash 57.88, Farrukh Liaquat & Gulzar Bilal 57.46, Uzair Kamal & Umar Aslam 57.20, Ghalib Bandesha & Asad Maqbool 57.15, Muhammad Zubair & A.K Bhurgari 55.91, Azza Qashu & Randa Saket 54.71, Khalid Manzur & Tariq Zafar 54.70, Ahsan J. Quereshi & Zia Hyder Naqi 53.49, Sikandar Butt & Mian Tariq 52.22.

For Ajaz Ahmad of Yummy Milk Products, the sponsor of this event,it was a welcome moment to see international participation and he had words of gratitude for the visitors from Jordan and the sole one from India.At the opening ,Azza Qashu,the leader lady from Jordan was excited  about her participation in this International Bridge Champioship. “I and the four other ladies from Jordan and one male member feel gladdened by the invitation to participate in Balijee Bridge Championship.The hospitality cannot be expressed in words and the Championship is being held in an excellent environment”.

“Our players look forward to a memorable experience of playing against the best”.

From the numbers angle the Karachi teams are well represented and so is Islamabd,Rawalpindi and Abbotabad. The Lahorites have also put up their best teams.

Around mid-day today the pairs even will conclude and thereafter the team event will commence to be played over two and a half days. Another special feature of this championship is the application of the Bridgemate Technology which immensely facilitates recording of scores and the final results are available as soon as the play ends.

(Source: The News)

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