Bridge Federation of Asia & Middle East
BFAME History

BRIDGE FEDERATION OF ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST

ZONAL CONFERENCE OF WBF ZONE-4

 

  

Any account of international bridge must start with the World Bridge Federation (WBF).  Formed in August 1958 and, in 1977, incorporated under the laws of the State of New York and subsequently under Laws of the relevant Clause of Switzerland, as a

 "not-for-profit" Organization, the WBF is at the apex of the hierarchy of international bridge organizations.

 

Ever since its inception, the WBF has shown strong and steady growth and its present membership comprises of 107 National Bridge Organizations (NBOs).  These have just about 736,952 registered individual members who participate actively in competitive bridge events - locally, nationally or internationally.

 

For the purposes of administration and furtherance of the objectives of the WBF which, inter alia, include the sponsoring and promotion of zonal competitions, the WBF Constitution and By-Laws require that the world be divided into "appropriate geographical zones taking into account such factors as natural geographical affinity, economy in attending zonal meetings and competitions and other pertinent considerations."  Further, the NBOs falling within the jurisdiction of each designated zone are required to unite in a Zonal Conference (ZC).

 

Pursuant to the aforesaid mandate, the WBF, upon due zonal designations and approval of their respective ZCs, has at present 8 operational zonal federations, described hereunder, to which 112 member NBOs are allocated: -

 

ZONE 1 - European Bridge League (Europe)               384,186 (46 NBOs)
ZONE 2 - American Contract Bridge League (North America)                                                    170,606 (03 NBOs)
ZONE 3 - Confederation Sudamericana de Bridge (South America)                                         3,575 (10 NBOs)
ZONE 4 - Bridge Federation of Asia & the Middle East (Asia & Middle East)               7,307 (11 NBOs)
ZONE 5 - Central American & Caribbean Bridge Federation (Central American & Caribbean)      895 (14 NBOs)
ZONE 6 – Asia Pacific Bridge Federation (Asia Pacific)      50,242 (12 NBOs)
ZONE 7 - South Pacific Bridge Federation (South Pacific)                   51,420 (04 NBOs)
ZONE 8 - African Bridge Federation (Africa)                      6,086 (12 NBOs)
                                                                                                                                                             674,317 (112 NBOs)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

The above mentioned Zonal Federations, formed under their respective Constitutions by their constituent member NBOs, in effect serve as intermediary link between the WBF and their member NBOs.  Among functions delegated to them by the WBF, the most important is the sponsoring and conducting of the Zonal Championships in accordance with the prescribed standards of the WBF with the prime object of determining the zonal representative teams for participation in the Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup and d’Orsi Seniors Trophy World Bridge Teams Championships.  These World Championships, being emblematic of world superiority in team play are the most prestigious of the World Championships.

 

FORMATION AND GROWTH OF THE BRIDGE

FEDERATION OF ASIA & THE MIDDLE EAST

 

"Organizations are not made, but grow" aptly describes the evolutionary process of the WBF Zone 4 and its ZC, the Bridge Federation of Asia & the Middle East (BFAME). It all started in 1977 when, having earmarked the geographical  area West of the Bay of Bengal to the Mediterranean and designating it as Zone 4, the WBF Executive Council Jaime Ortiz Patino  as the President  assigned the task of uniting the NBOs of the aforesaid jurisdictional territory into a ZC by the then Co-Chairman of the WBF Zoning Committee, .  Upon effective contacts with the NBO of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the genial and duty-conscious WBF Zoning Committee Co-Chairman provisionally commissioned Zone 4 and its ZC, later christened as the Bridge Federation of Asia & the Middle East, at a meeting held in November 1978 at Maurya Sheraton Hotel New Delhi, India.  It was also at this meeting that the BFAME officers including P.C. Goenka of India and Mazhar Jafri of Pakistan were elected as President and Secretary respectively. 

 

After nearly a year's hectic work by the BFAME Secretariat, the new Zonal Federation submitted its application for the requisite approval of the WBF Executive Council at its meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in October 1979.  The BFAME Secretary, who presented the application in person, succeeded in securing ratification of the BFAME subject to fulfilment of certain requirements of WBF Constitution and By-Laws.  However, upon compliance with these requirements, the BFAME was accorded the status of a ZC, in good standing, in the WBF Executive Council meetings held in Valkenburg, Holland, in September 1980.

 

Starting as a toddling Zonal body with 4 NBOs having less than 5000 bridge players as their registered members the BFAME has, over the last nearly 35 years, grown in size and strength.  At Present it has within its folds NBOs 11 countries of South Asia, Middle East and West Asia with over 7,500 competitive bridge players as their members.  These are Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria and prospective UAE.

 

In 1993, pursuant to a resolution of BFAME Council, and upon approval of WBF Executive Council, the geographical jurisdiction of Zone 4 was extended to the continent of Africa and name of its Zonal Conference was modified from Bridge Federation of Asia and the Middle East (BFAME) to Bridge Federation of Africa Asia and the Middle East (BFAAME) with 22 member NBOs.

 

However, subsequently in 2000, with the formation and commissioning of a new/separate zone for the continent of Africa in accordance with the aspiration of the African NBOs – Zone 8 and its ZC named as African Bridge Federation, BFAME reverted back to its original name and jurisdictional area having 11 NBOs as its members.

 

The BFAME and BFAAME have sponsored and conducted 17 biennial Zonal Championships successfully in 1981 in India, in 1983 in Mauritius, in 1985 in Pakistan, in 1987 in Sri Lanka, in 1989 in Egypt, in 1991 in India, in 1993 in Mauritius, in 1995 in Jordan, in 1997 in South Africa, in 1999 in Sri Lanka, in 2001 in Bahrain, in 2003 in Jordan, in 2005 in Bangladesh, in 2007 in Pakistan, in 2009 in Jordan, in 2011 in India and again in 2013 in India.  While the seventeen afore-mentioned Championships will be described in some detail hereunder, it is noteworthy that these championships were conducted in line with international standards set by the WBF, inasmuch as there were proper Conditions of Contest governing these championships and screens, Vu-graph and other technical infrastructure were in operation.

 

Right from its inception, Zone 4, through its member NBOs and their representative teams, has been regularly participating in annual WBF events - Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup and d’Orsi Seniors Trophy World Bridge Championship, World Teams Olympiad and World Bridge Championships, often acquitting themselves well.  It is, indeed, noteworthy that representative teams from Pakistan, India, Egypt and South Africa (now part of Zone-8) have distinguished themselves by emerging among front-rank teams at world level.  In this context, performances of twice World Championship runners-up celebrated Pakistani team, of Indian team making excellent showing by reaching the Semi-Finals of the 1988 World Teams Olympiad, of Egyptian team making its presence felt in quarter-finals stage of 1992 World Teams Olympiad, of South African Team qualifying for the quarter-finals of 1995 Bermuda Bowl and resurgent Indian and Pakistani teams qualifying for the quarter-finals of 2001 Bermuda Bowl and 2004 World Teams Olympiad respectively.

 

This youngest of the WBF Zones has all along had an effective liaison with the WBF.  It has been the best endeavour of the Zonal officers to adhere to and carry out the instructions and guidelines of the WBF in letter and spirit.  In this regard, perhaps the most notable example is that, might

 

In addition to the above, through Mazhar Jafri its past President and now President Emeritus who is a member of WBF Executive Council for the last 35 years and is also WBF Vice-President since 1991, BFAME/Zone 4 has the distinction of making substantial contribution towards the growth & progress of bridge worldwide and the future wellbeing of the WBF and its member NBOs.  In this connection, institution of WBF Infrastructure Development Programme and initiative for recognition of bridge as a sport by International Olympic Committee (IOC) resulting in recognition  of  bridge  as a sport and WBF as a Recognized  Organisation stand out .


 

1st ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1981

 

Venue: Bangalore, India

Dates: 11th -19th April 1981

Open: Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka & U.A.E. (6)

 

Women: India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka (3)

 

25th Bermuda Bowl (7) & 4th Venice Cup (5), Port Chester, New York, USA. (19th-30th Oct.)

 

Upon formulation of Tournament Conditions of Contest and finalization of organizational arrangements in conjunction with the host NBO, the Bridge Federation of India, the 1st Asia and Middle East Championships were held in Bangalore from 11-19 April 1981.  While all the 6 BFAME member NBOs - Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UAE - participated in the Open Teams event of these epoch-making Championships, it was encouraging to have teams from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka playing in the Ladies Teams event.

 

In the Open Teams Championships, the two pre-tournament favourites, India and Pakistan, had no difficulty in making a confident entry into the final.  The final, played with screens and on Vu-graph, was closely contested and it was on the last few boards of the closing 16-board set that "the gods smiled on Pakistan who won narrowly".

 

Annexing the coveted Zakaria Adamjee Memorial Trophy in a dramatic finish, Pakistan earned the eligibility to represent Zone 4 in the 25th Bermuda Bowl World Championship 1981.  Asserting its superiority, the Indian Ladies Team won the Vinodini Goenka Trophy for the Ladies Teams Championship, with the Sri Lanka Ladies as the runners-up.

 

It is noteworthy that the WBF President, Mr. J. Ortiz-Patino, who inaugurated the Bangalore Championships, immensely benefited the tournament with his presence and erudite guidance.  His comments, appearing in March - April 1981 issue of the World Bridge News, pretty much sum up the success of the Championship:

 

"The friendly attitude of the players, the warmth and consideration of the hosts, and the sportsmanship combined with high efficiency, made this the very model of what an international contest should be.  The organizers set to run their championship according to WBF standards, succeeding brilliantly.   Screens in the final, tournament direction, monitoring, and so on, all worked smoothly.  Responsible for the success was P.C. Goenka, who is the President of the new Federation and I was impressed too with the work of Mazhar Jafri, particularly on the Rules and Regulations."

 

PAKISTAN TEAM MAKES HISTORY -

THE BERMUDA BOWL PARTICIPATION - 1981

 

The BFAME representative team from Pakistan, comprising: Jan-e-Alam Fazli, Masood Saleem, Munir Ataullah, Nisar Ahmad, Nishat Abedi and Zia Mahmood, participated in the 25th Championship for the Bermuda Bowl at Port Chester, USA in October 1981.

 

To everyone's surprise, including their own, this relatively inexperienced team overcame Great Britain, Indonesia and Australia in the round-robin and Argentina in the semi-final.  Continuing to perform well in the final, Pakistan took lead against United States which they held until halfway.  In the end, primarily due to a disastrous 16-board set, they were unlucky to lose to the defending World Champion United States team.  It was, indeed, an historic feat considering that it was only the second time that a team of a country (and of a zone) outside America and Europe got into the final of the Bermuda Bowl.  Thus, the BFAME representative team scaled unprecedented heights not only for Asia, the Middle East and West Asia but also for the entire Third World.

 

2nd ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1983

 

Venue: Le Meidien Paradise Hotel, Le Morne Peninsula, Port Louise, Mauritius

Dates : 13th – 22nd May’83

Open : Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Sri Lanka & Zimbabwe (9).

Pakistan, India.

Women : India, Mauritius & Pakistan. (3)

India, Pakistan

26th Bermuda Bowl (10), Stockholm, Sweden. (24th Sep’83 – 8th Oct’83)

USA 1

 

Great strides were made by the BFAME during the years 1981-83.  Besides maintaining its distinguished image as "the Model Zone" of the WBF, Zone 4 grew in its size and stature.  While with the admission of the NBOs of Kuwait and Nepal, as WBF members in October 1981, the BFAME membership increased to 8, Zone 4 in effect transcended its stipulated territorial jurisdiction when, upon allocation by the WBF Executive Council, NBOs of four African countries, viz. Kenya, Reunion, Tanzania and Zimbabwe were admitted as BFAME members.

 

The 2nd Asia and Middle East Bridge Championships were held at the Meridien Paradise Hotel, in the picturesque Le Morne Peninsula Resort, from 13-22 May 1983.  Of the 11 BFAME member NBOs, 9 were represented in the Open Teams Championship.  These were Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.  In the Ladies Teams Championship teams from India, Mauritius and Pakistan participated.

 

With WBF Chief Tournament Director, Harold Franklin taking up his assignment, for the first time, as the Chief Tournament Director, the BFAME Championships got away to an interesting start.  In the Open Teams Championship, the participating teams played a 32-board split double round-robin, and Pakistan, India, Mauritius and Bangladesh qualified for the semi-final with considerable ease.  While the young and promising Bangladesh team succumbed to the power of the experienced, and superior, Pakistan line-up, Mauritius, in what was a creditable and spirited fight, fully extended India, and, leading until the halfway stage, lost narrowly.

 

Contrary to all reasonable expectations, India versus Pakistan 80-board final was rather a one-sided affair in favour of Pakistan.  The Pakistani players bagged the match with a mammoth lead, and thereby, once again, earned the right to represent BFAME in the 1983 Bermuda Bowl World Championship in Stockholm.

 

In the Ladies Teams Championship, India and Pakistan qualified for the final.  In an interesting encounter, the Indian Ladies won the event by a 3-IMP margin.

 

Mr. J. Ortiz-Patino, the WBF President, graced the occasion with his dynamic presence.  He contributed to the success of the championships through his guidance and help, particularly in duplicating the boards for the semi-final and final matches in conjunction with the BFAME Secretary Mazhar Jafri. 

 

3rd ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1985

 

Venue: Taj Mahal Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan

Dates: 18th – 30th April 1985

Open: Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Reunion & Sri Lanka (7)

(Pakistan), India

Women: Egypt, India, Pakistan, Reunion & Sri Lanka (5)

India, Egypt

27th Bermuda Bowl (10) & 5th Venice Cup (10), Sao Paolo, Brazil. (19th Oct’85 – 2nd Nov’85)

USA & Great Britain

 

12 teams - 7 Open and 5 Ladies-representing 8 NBOs, participated in the 3rd Asia & Middle East Bridge Championships held at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan from 18 to 30 April 1985.  The eight participating NBOs were: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Reunion, and Sri Lanka.  Egypt, participating in BFAME Championships for the first time, was represented by its ladies team.

 

Once again, the BFAME enlisted the services of Harold Franklin as Chief Tournament Director.  Albert Dormer edited the daily bulletin and Billy Eisenburg was the Vu-graph commentator. Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the WBF President, graced the occasion with his presence during the closing stages of the Championship.

 

It is a matter of tremendous satisfaction that the Championships were a total success.  The Conditions of Contest were framed on the line of those of the WBF.  The Championships functioned smoothly, particularly on the technical side.  The directing staff performed well. There was a competent daily bulletin.  The results were reliably calculated and promptly posted.  The Vu-graph was of high technical value and was all along well-attended with excellent commentary by Billy Eisenburg.

 

Pakistan won the Open teams Championship with consummate ease over India in the 80-board final, which had some thrilling movements.  Indian Ladies team, after a closely contested final, won the Ladies teams Championship with Egypt as the runners-up

 

CANCELLATION OF 1985 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FROM INDIA

 

Much though it was a matter of great honour for the BFAME that the WBF awarded the hosting of 1985 Bermuda Bowl and Venice Cup World Championships to one of the founder constituent NBOs of Zone 4, Bridge Federation of India, only in the second year of the Zone's formation; the only sore point and, in fact, a dark spot in the BFAME success story, was the cancellation of 1985 Bermuda Bowl and Venice Cup World Championships from India and their shifting from New Delhi to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  While it is inappropriate to go over the unfortunate facts and circumstances and chain of events which resulted in this debacle and which obviously constituted a serious setback to the progress and growth of bridge not only in India but also in countries of all the BFAME member NBOs, it suffices to say that: "It was nobody's fault - just one of those things”.

 

 

WITHDRAWAL FROM BERMUDA BOWL AND

PARTICIPATION IN VENICE CUP-1985

 

Open team event of the 3rd Asia & Middle East Bridge Championships having been won by Pakistan, the same six players of Pakistan team who had done so well in World Championships on two previous occasions, were planning to compete with distinction in the Bermuda Bowl World Championship in Sao Paulo.  The Government of Pakistan, however, was not willing to grant permission unless some way was found to avoid playing against Israel who had qualified to represent European Bridge League/Zone I.

 

Following inability of Pakistan Bridge Association to overcome this difficulty, Pakistan had no option but to withdraw from the World Championship.  Even the runners-up Indian team, substituting Pakistan team, could not participate due to last-minute cancellation of permission by the Government of India.  Thus, in the foregoing circumstances BFAME remained unrepresented in the 1985 Bermuda Bowl World Championship.

 

The same six players of the Indian Ladies team, who won the Ladies teams event of the 3rd Asia & Middle East Bridge Championships in Karachi, represented the BFAME in the Venice Cup.  Though in its debutant appearance in the Venice Cup World Championship the Zonal representative team from India was unable to qualify for the semi-final from a highly competitive round-robin field, it did make its presence felt by excelling through its sporting spirit and ethical play.

 

PAKISTAN TEAM'S EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE

IN 1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Six BFAME member NBOs - Egypt, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan and Zimbabwe - participated in the pairs and teams events of the 1986 World Championships in Miami, USA.  India and Pakistan sent large contingents, and the participants from these NBOs excelled with their good performances.

 

While two Indian Pairs reached the final of the Open Pairs events and did well to finish among the top 20 pairs, the celebrated Pakistan bridge team, once again, distinguished itself through its performance in the Rosenblum World Knockout Teams Championship.  With just four players in the team Jan-e-Alam Fazli, Nisar Ahmed, Nishat Abedi and Zia Mahmood, they performed the Herculean task of forcing their way into the finals, coming up from the "repechage", the Mini Knockout and the semi-final and defeating some of the strongest teams in the World.  As in the past, though they were unlucky to miss the World title, yet through their sportsmanship and exemplary behaviour they won every one's heart.  Reproduced below is an extract from Zia Mahmood's widely published write-up, which appeared in the World Championship daily bulletin and which has been extensively quoted in press all over the World:

 

"....Is it losing when hundreds of people from far flung corners of the World, from countries such as Jamaica, Canada and China, among countless others emotionally will you to win as if you were their own team?  Like a strange transformation we became not just a Pakistan team, but the representatives of the rest of the World.  Was that Losing....?”

 

 

4TH ASIA & CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1987

 

Venue: Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dates: 29th March to 9th April 1987

Open: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion & Sri Lanka (8)

Pakistan, Mauritius

Women: Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Reunion & Sri Lanka (5)

Egypt, Sri Lanka

28th Bermuda Bowl (10) & 6th Venice Cup (10), Ochos Rios, Jamaica. (10th – 24th Oct’87)

USA & USA-2

 

Six Open and Five Ladies Teams, representing seven NBOs participated in these Championships held at Taj Samudra Hotel Colombo during 29 March to 9 April 1987.

 

From the Open Series, at the conclusion of 32-board double round-robin matches Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Reunion qualified for the 64-board knockout semi-finals.

 

Pakistan and Mauritius, winning their respective matches against Reunion and Sri Lanka, faced each other in the 80-board final.  Mauritius, having creditably made their first major breakthrough by getting into the final, after a plucky fight eventually succumbed to the power of the formidable Pakistan team who went on to win the final by a fairly big margin.

 

In the 5-team ladies series of the Championships, Egypt and Sri Lanka excelled over Pakistan, Reunion and Jordan by comfortably qualifying from the field for the 64-board final.  The Egyptian Ladies consoled themselves over their narrow loss to India in the final of the 3rd BFAME Championship by clinching the title quite comfortably.  However, the host NBO, Bridge Federation of Sri Lanka, gained a major success when its ladies pair of Jeyamny and Podi won the BFAME Open Pairs Championship in a grand style from a highly competitive field.

 

The WBF President, Denis Howard, who graced the Championships with his presence during its closing stages, was impressed with the success of the Championship, particularly the high ethical standards and an atmosphere of friendship and warm cordiality among participants.

 

 

INDIAN TEAM'S EPOCH-MAKING PERFORMANCE

IN THE 1988 TEAMS OLYMPIAD.

 

Seven Open and three Ladies teams representing 7 BFAME NBOs participated in the 7th World Teams Olympiad, held in Venice, Italy during October 1988.  After Zone 1 (EBL), BFAME had the distinction of being represented by second-largest number of teams from its member NBOs in the Olympiad.

 

Indian Open team, comprising Jaggy Shivdasani, Rajesh Dalal, Avinash Gokhale, Kamal Mukherjee, Debasish Roy and Santanu Ghose, created history by becoming the first Asian team ever to reach the Open semi-finals - and they did it the hard way too.  Fighting their way right through the closely-contested round-robin in Group "B", they eliminated Greece, which led the field throughout the round-robin.  Though they lost to the formidable United States team in the well-fought semi-final match, India's strong performance in the Venice Olympiad made its team members worthy successors to the famous Pakistan players the world now knows so well.

 

 

5TH ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-1989

 

Venue: Ramses Nile Hilton, Cairo, Egypt

Dates: 1st to 13th June 1989

Open: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. (10)

Egypt, India

Women: Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Reunion & Sri Lanka. (6)

India, Egypt

29th Bermuda Bowl (10) & 7th Venice Cup (10), Perth, Australia. (9th – 23rd Sep’89)

Brazil, USA

 

Ever since Egypt appeared on the international bridge scene at the 1956 European Championship in Stockholm - where, incidentally, they gained the reputation as talented card players - their cherished ambition had all along been to host a World or Zonal Championship in Cairo.

 

The Egyptian Bridge Federation, joining BFAME as a member NBO in 1985 and participating in 3rd & 4th BFAME Championships respectively in Karachi & Colombo through their competent Ladies team which distinguished itself by first finishing as runners-up and then winners of the Ladies series, soon saw the dream realised when the BFAME Council, in Colombo in 1987, awarded the hosting of the 5th Asia & Middle East Championship to the Egyptian NBO.  Necessary organizational arrangements were finalised, and stage was set for holding the Championships in a befitting manner at the Ramses Hilton Hotel, Cairo during 1-13 June 1989.

 

To start with, BFAME set a new record of participation in its biennial Zonal Championship, when 9 Open & 6 Ladies teams, representing 10 NBO's registered their participation entries.  In addition to continuance of Harold Franklin as Chief Tournament Director, Claude Dadoun of France, one of the top tournament directors in Europe, was inducted as Assistant Chief Tournament Director.   Phillip Alder, an eminent bridge journalist and analyst, was assigned as the Bulletin Editor and Vu-graph commentator, and Col. Sharma of India, as before, was the Vu-graph Director.

 

From the 9-team field, India, Egypt, Pakistan and Reunion qualified for the semi-final without much difficulty.  In the two semi-final knockout matches, while India defeated Reunion by a colossal margin, Egypt brought about the biggest upset of the Championship when, after a hard fought contest, they lowered the colours of the celebrated Pakistan team in a real cavalier style.  With the winds behind their sails, the Egyptians went on to defeat the strong Indians in the final, and thereby earned Bermuda Bowl 1989 qualification as Zone 4 representative team.

 

In the Ladies series, Egypt and India, the two pre-tournament favourites, were pitted against each other in the final.  After an interesting encounter, punctuated with anxious moments, the steady Indian ladies defeated their Egyptian counterparts with a comfortable victory margin, and in the process, qualified to play in the Venice Cup World Championship in Perth, Australia, later that year.

 

The 5th Championships of Zone 4 were a tremendous success.  Besides high technical qualities and well-planned logistics which had an almost perfect working, these Championships will be remembered for the extreme warmth and hospitality of the hosts.  The WBF President, Denis Howard, who graced the Championship with his presence, paid glowing tributes to the BFAME officers & tournament staff for their excellent work, and also praised the Egyptian organizers profusely for their excellent arrangements.

 

6TH ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS - 1991

 

Venue: Sheraton Hotel, New Delhi, India

Dates: 7th-17th July 1991

Open: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Saudia Arabia & Sri Lanka (9)

Pakistan, Egypt

Women: Egypt, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (4)

Egypt, India.

30th NEC Bermuda Bowl (16) & 8th Venice Cup (16), Yokohoma, Japan. (29th Sep’91 – 11th Oct’91)

Iceland & USA 2

 

Bangladesh Bridge Federation, a founder member NBO of the BFAME, was originally awarded the hosting of the 6th Asia and Middle East Championships which was scheduled to be held in Dhaka during 9-21 June 1991.  Unfortunately, following a grave natural catastrophe caused by unprecedented devastation of cyclone and tidal bore in Bangladesh in April 1991, the BFAME had no option but to hurriedly reschedule the Championships to be held in New Delhi, India during 7-17 July 1991.

 

Thanks to BFAAME President P.C. Goenka’s timely personal initiative and resourcefulness, ably supported by hectic work by BFAME SecretaryMazar Jafri it was found feasible for the BFAME to lead from the front by taking upon it the entire assignment of hosting, organising and conducting of the Championships, independently of Bridge Federation of India.

 

The organising Committee did an admirable job by carrying out all the required pre-championship organisational arrangements in such a short time.  Furthermore, the BFAME decided to use local (from the Zone) personnel as key tournament officials.  A.S. Vishwanathan (India), assisted by Aslam Sheikh (Pakistan), handled tournament direction.  Santanu Ghose (India), assisted by Amit Roy and Kundu, edited and produced the daily bulletin.

 

From the Open teams Championship field of 9 teams -- Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, 4 top-finishers from the round-robin were Pakistan, Egypt, India and Bangladesh.  In the final round, Pakistan, winning all the three league matches, emerged as the winner, annexing Zakaria Adamjee Memorial Trophy for the 5th time.  The defending champions, Egypt, finished as runners-up and, together with Pakistan, secured eligibility to represent BFAME in the 1991 NEC Bermuda Bowl World Championships in Yokohama, Japan.

 

In a rather small 4-teams field in the Ladies series, Egypt and India overcame Pakistan and Sri Lanka to qualify for the 64-board final play-off match.  Defeating the defending Champion India, the Egyptian Ladies won the Vinodini Goenka Trophy.  Egyptian and Indian Ladies teams qualified as Zone 4 representative teams for participation in the 1991 NEC Venice Cup World Championship in Yokohama.

 

The opening ceremony of the Championships was attended by the World Bridge Federation President Ernesto d'Orsi of Brazil.  In his inauguration address, he praised the exemplary growth and progress of Zone 4, as also the efforts of the BFAAME for successful arrangements of the Championships.

 

7TH ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-1993

 

Venue: Le Mauricia Hotel, Grand Bay, Port Louis, Mauritius.

Dates: May’93

Open: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. (11)

South Africa, India

Women: Egypt, India, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion and South Africa. (7)

South Africa, India

31st Bermuda Bowl (16) & 9th Venice Cup (16), Santiago, Chile. (29th Aug’93 – 11th Sep’91)

Netherlands & USA 2

Following decision of the BFAME Council in Delhi, in July 1991, the hosting of 7th Asia & Middle East Championships 1993 was awarded to Mauritius Bridge Federation (MBF).  Having earlier hosted and organised the 2nd BFAME Championships, in 1983 in Mauritius, conferring of this honour again after ten years speaks volumes of not only the organizational capabilities and resourcefulness of the MBF but also of the trust and confidence the BFAME had in this NBO.

 

The venue was the exquisitely beautiful Le Mauricia Hotel located in the enchanting surroundings of Grand Bay.

 

With eleven Open and Seven Ladies teams registering their entries - a record participation, the championships were off to a brisk start on 8 June morning.  The fact that the Championships were inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr. Cassam Uteem, marks an unprecedented honour for the BFAME and, indeed, for the entire bridge world.

 

Another new beginning was made at these Championships when South Africa, having been in political wilderness for over a decade, joined Zone 4/BFAME and, to everyone's surprise including their own, won both Open and Ladies series of the championships in grand style. It was also during the Mauritius championships that BFAME Council resolved to extend Zone 4 geographical territory to the continent of Africa and to change the name of its Zonal Conference from Bridge Federation of Asia and the Middle East (BFAME) to Bridge Federation of Africa Asia and the Middle East (BFAAME).

 

National representatives teams from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Saudi Arab, South Africa and Sri Lanka, participated in the Open teams series.  Egypt, India, Pakistan and South Africa advanced to the final phase.  Wringing a major surprise, debutant South African team overcome strong Indian, Egyptian and Pakistani teams in 32-board league matches to attain top position and annex Zakaria Adamjee Memorial Trophy.  After some anxious moments in their last round match, India edged out Egypt to finish 2nd and secured the other Bermuda Bowl berth.

 

From 7-team field in the Ladies series - Egypt, India, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion and South Africa, four qualifiers for the finals were Egypt, India, Pakistan and South Africa.   Emulating their Open team, South African ladies emerged winners of Vinodini Goenka Trophy, with Indian ladies clinching the 2nd spot for Venice Cup qualification.

 

Many times world champion and eminent American bridge administrator Bobby Wolff enhanced the prestige of the Championships, attending as the WBF President.  In his address to the BFAAME Council, and also in his speech at the victory banquet, he commended excellent organizational and technical arrangements of these championships.  Bobby Wolff paid rich tributes to the BFAAME for its work, particularly its outstanding contribution to the WBF.

 

8TH AFRICA ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-1995

 

Venue: Forte Grand Hotel, Amman, Jordan

Dates: 22nd April’95 – 3rd May’95.

Open: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria & Sri Lanka(13)

South Africa, Egypt

Women: Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan, Reunion, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. (8)

South Africa, India

32nd Marlboro Bermuda Bowl (16) & 10th Venice Cup (16), Beijing, China. (8th – 20th Oct’95)

USA 2 & Germany

 

Marking a record participation of 21 teams from 13 NBOs in the Open and Ladies series, these Championships were held in the beautiful city of Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, during 22 April - 3 May 1995.

 

Conducted under the overall control and technical management of the BFAAME, in accordance with the Conditions of Contest, modelled on those of the WBF, Systems Policy and Smoking regulations of the WBF, the running of the Championship was smooth and extremely successful.  The entire tournament operations, functioning under the direct control and supervision of the BFAAME Chief Executive, were ably handled by the Chief Tournament Director Bill Schoder [Kojak] of USA, who was assisted by his wife Bud Schoder and Yury Covelanko of Uzbekistan, and daily bulletin editor Phillip Alder of New York.

 

While computer-generated machine-pre-duplicated hands were played throughout with screens, there was Vu-graph in the final phase of the Championships.  South Africa, admitted to Zone 4 in 1993 and participating in the Zonal Championships for the second time, successfully defended the titles by winning both the Open and Ladies team events, with Egypt (Open) and India ladies finishing as the runners-up.  The aforementioned winners and runners-up of the Open Teams Championship and the winners of the Ladies Teams Championship qualified to present Zone 4/BFAME in Marlboro Bermuda Bowl and Marlboro Venice Cup World Championships, respectively, in Beijing later that year.

 

The WBF President Jose Damiani graced the Championship with his presence, during the last two days.  As the BFAAME Guest of Honour, he attended the victory banquet and, together with His Excellency the Prime Minister of Jordan, he gave away the prizes.  The WBF President, speaking highly of the Championship organization, was particularly pleased with the enthusiastic support and patronage for the Championships by the Prime Minister, his wife and his Government.

 

It is, indeed, noteworthy that Zone 4/BFAAME representative team from South Africa did the Zone honour of qualifying for the quarterfinals of the 1995 Bermuda Bowl World Championship in Beijing, China.  A well-deserved credit for performing extremely well is, therefore, due to the South African Open team.

 

9TH AFRICA ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-1997

 

Venue: Arthur Seat Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dates: 16th May’97- 28th May’97.

Open: Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. (10)

India, South Africa, Tunisia (Host)

Women: Egypt, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Reunion, South Africa, Sri Lanka & Zimbabwe. (8)

(Egypt), India, South Africa, Tunisia (Host)

33rd Bermuda Bowl (18) & 11th Venice Cup (18), Hammamet, Tunisia. (19th Oct’97 – 1st Nov’97)

France & USA 1

 

With South African Bridge Federation (SABF) firmly saddled as a BFAAME member NBOs having creditably won two successive BFAAME Championships, in 1993 and in 1995, BFAAME Council, in its meeting in Amman in 1995 decided to award the hosting of 1997 BFAAME Championships to SABF.

 

On the request of SABF Organizing Committee, comprising its President Julius Butkow and Chris Convery and Andy Gray from Cape Town, it was decided to hold the Championship at Arthur Seat Hotel on Cape Town during 16-28 May 1997.  Salient features of this first-ever championship held in the African continent are summed up as follows:

 

18 teams - 10 Open and 8 Ladies, representing 11 NBOs participated in the Open and Ladies series of the championship.  Participation was somewhat disappointing, as, understandably due to enormous distance and expense, some regulars like Jordan & Saudi Arabia, and also Tunisia, dropped out at the last minute.

 

India and South Africa in the Open series and Egypt and India in the Ladies series emerged as the two top teams of respective series.  However, since Egyptian Ladies teams, though finishing first, faced ineligibility to play in Venice Cup for reasons of not having played in 1996 Olympiad, South African Ladies team, which was third, substituted Egypt for representation in the Venice Cup.

 

For the non-qualifiers for the semi-finals, and also for local players and visitors, a new transnational teams event was introduced, for which the trophy was denoted by SABF President Julius Butkow.

 

The Championship, under BFAAME technical management and control, functioned smoothly.  On the technical side, with Bill Schoder (Kojak) as Chief Tournament Director and Philip Alder as bulletin editor, the running of the Championship was excellent.

 

The Championship was conducted under Conditions of Contest modelled on those for WBF Championships.  Screens were used throughout.  WBF System Policy and appeals procedure were followed and appeals decisions were written up in the daily bulletins.

 

Fred Gitleman of Canada was engaged to put up and run Vu-graph during semi-finals and final.  Vu-graph presentation was good and attracted crowd.  BFAAME also had the distinction of putting the daily bulletins and Vu-graph on the Internet under Bridge Plaza website.

 

The Championship's high points were the welcome reception by the Mayor of Cape Town and visit to the Championship by eminent Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

 

H.E. Shaikh Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of Olympic Council of Asia, who was invited to be the Chief Guest at the victory banquet and prize-giving ceremony, though unable to come due to pressing IOC and OCA engagements, sent a special Message, expressing his continued strong personal support and patronage for bridge.  This Message, published in the Championship programme, bolstered the image of bridge and the Championship a great deal.

 

10TH AFRICA ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-1999

 

Venue: Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dates: 2nd Oct’99 – 14th Oct’99

Open: Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Palestine, Reunion, South Africa and Sri Lanka (9)

Pakistan & South Africa

Women: Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Reunion, South Africa, Sri Lanka. (7)

India, Egypt.

34th Bermuda Bowl (20) & 12th Venice Cup (20), Southampton, Bermuda. (7th – 21st Jan’00)

USA 1 & Netherlands

 

Bridge Federation of Sri Lanka (BFSL), one of the four originating founder members of Zone 4 and Bridge Federation of Asia and Middle East (BFAME), was conferred the honour of hosting and organizing, for the second time, the 10th Championships of Bridge Federation of Africa, Asia and Middle East (BFAAME), in Colombo in October 1999.

 

9 Open teams – Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, Palestine, Reunion, South Africa and Sri Lanka – and 7 Ladies teams – Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Reunion, South Africa and Sri Lanka – participated in the Open and Ladies series of the Championships. At the close of the double round robin, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and South Africa qualified for 64-board (16X4) semi-finals. From the 7-team field of the Ladies series, Egypt, India, Pakistan and South Africa emerged as the semi-final qualifiers. With Pakistan and South Africa prevailing over India and Bangladesh in their respective semi-finals knockout matches in the Open series and Egypt and India defeating South Africa and Pakistan in close finish in the Ladies series semi-finals, Pakistan and South Africa in the Open and Egypt and India in the Ladies were pitted against each other in the finals.

 

The Championships, otherwise having a smooth run, were struck by tragedy when on the opening day of the finals, one of the playing members of Pakistan Open team, Asrar Umar, died after a sudden massive heart attack. In this prevailing gloomy and sorrowful atmosphere, the competing finalist expressed their inability to play. The BFAAME administration, with the consensus of competing teams, decided to treat the Open team’s finals as an abandoned match and declared Pakistan and South Africa as joint winners of Zakaria Adamjee Memorial Trophy for the Open Teams Championships. However, in 64-board final of the Ladies series, India edged out Egypt in a thrilling 162-154 IMPs finish and went on annex Vinodini Goenka Trophy for the Ladies Teams Championships.

 

These Championships, being the last Championships of BFAAME, were extremely well-managed on the technical side with Chief Tournament Director Ton Kooijman of Netherlands, assisted by Ihsan Qadir of Pakistan, conducting the Championships in an immaculately efficient manner. Eminent bridge journalist Mark Horton of UK competently produced good daily bulletin which were regularly splashed on the internet. Vu-Graph programming expert Dr. Baldi of Italy, despite unavoidable difficulty, did a good job running an enjoyable Vu-Graph in the closing stages of the Championships.

 

11TH ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-2001

 

Venue: Gulf Hotel, Manama, Bahrain

Dates: 23rd May’01 – 2nd June’01.

Open: Bahrain, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Syria. (6)

India, (Syria), (Pakistan)

Women: Bahrain, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. (5)

India, (Sri Lanka)

Seniors:

Bahrain

35th Bermuda Bowl (18) & 13th Venice Cup (18) and 1st Seniors Bowl (8), Paris, France. (21st Oct’01 – 3rd Nov’01)

USA 2, Germany & USA 2.

 

With Bangladesh Bridge Federation expressing inability to host and organize the Championships,  in Dhaka and no other BFAME member NBO willing to organize the event at just about a few months short notice, the BFAME President Mazhar Jafri made hectic efforts, visiting Bahrain and persuading Bahrain Bridge Club to join BFAME as the member NBO, converting itself into Bahrain NBO under the name of Bahrain Bridge Committee and persuading the local organisation to host and organise 11th BFAME Championships with the support of Sports Ministry of the Government of Bahrain, in May – June 2001.

 

Bahrain Bridge Committee, under active technical guidance of the BFAME, amazingly did an admirable job, meeting otherwise tough technical and infrastructural requirements prescribed by the BFAME and the WBF. The Championships was held at the super 5-star Gulf Hotel in Manama, Bahrain. Besides extending traditional Arab hospitality, the organizers succeeded in putting up a very impressive opening ceremony, in the Olympic style, and earned the rare distinction of having the Championships inaugurated by His Highness the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

 

With BFAME reverting back to its original name and territorial jurisdiction and membership getting slashed down to 12 NBOs, 6 Open teams – Bahrain, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Syria and 5 Ladies teams – Bahrain, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka participated in the two main teams events of the Championships. Qualifying from the small 6-team field for the semi-finals of the Open Teams Championships were Bahrain, India, Pakistan and Syria. The two 64-baord knockout matches were closely contested, with India and Syria prevailing over Bahrain and Pakistan in their respective matches. Syria, participating in a BFAME Championship, for the first time, caused a major upset defeating its experienced opponent. The Open and Ladies finals, played simultaneously, produced expected results when India scored a double with over 100 IMPs win against Syria and the Indian ladies had no difficulty in defeating their Sri Lankan adversary. The Championships were extremely well-conducted by Chief Tournament Director Bill Schoder of USA who was assisted by his efficient wife Budd Schoder. While Mark Horton produced an excellent daily bulletin. These Championships were marked by an innovation introduced by BFAME President, covering the entire Championships, from day one of the round robin until the end of the final, on the Vu-Graph which, through Bridge Plaza website, was regularly posted live on the internet.

 

12TH ASIA & MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS-2003

 

Venue: Regency Palace Hotel, Amman, Jordan

Dates: 1st August’03 – 9th August’03.

Open: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka & Syria. (7)

India, Pakistan

Women: India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine & Sri Lanka. (5)

India, Pakistan

Seniors: Jordan, Pakistan & Palestine. (3)

Pakistan, (Jordan)

36th Bermuda Bowl (22), 14th Venice Cup (18) & 3rd Seniors Bowl (15), Monte Carlo, Monaco. (2nd – 15th Nov’03)

USA 1, USA 1 & USA 1.

 

Thanks to Ghassan Ghanem President Jordan Bridge Federation, BFAME succeeded in organizing the holding of the Championships in Amman, Jordan at an extremely short notice, in August 2003. Beside a good venue at Regency Palace Hotel Amman, Jordan Bridge Federation, having an experience of hosting one of the best BFAME Championships in Amman in 1995, did well to meet all BFAME and WBF technical requirements with distinction.

 

The tournament direction of the Championships was competently handled by Ton Kooijman of Netherlands, assisted by Ihsan Qadir of Pakistan and a local Director Muhammad of JBF. Raju Tolani of India, assisted by Jayaram of India and local Editorial Team of Dr. Halla Zabaneh, Aaida Abu Jaber and Azza Qashu worked hard to produce a reasonably satisfactory daily bulletin which, as in the past, was covered regularly on the internet.

 

7 Open teams – Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka & Syria and 5 Ladies teams – India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine & Sri Lanka participated in the Open and Ladies series of the Championships. At the close of the double round robin, India, Jordan, Pakistan and Syria qualified for the semi-finals of the Open Teams Championships, whereas India and Pakistan Ladies teams, completing matches in 3 round robins, qualified to meet each other in the final of the Ladies Teams Championship. India and Pakistan won their respective semi-finals matches with consummate ease against their respective opponents Jordan and Syria. The Indian Open team went on to win the final in grand style, defeating Pakistan by a comfortable margin. In the Ladies teams, final, India scored a double, trouncing Pakistan comfortably. With India and Pakistan Open and Ladies teams qualifying as the first two teams in their respective Teams events, creditably qualified to represent Zone 4/BFAME in the Bermuda Bowl and Venice Cup World Championships in Monaco, later in 2003. It was a first for Pakistan Women team to have qualified for Venice Cup after participating in BFAME Championship for 23 years. Pakistan & Jordan also qualified for the Seniors Bowl.

 

13th Asia & Middle East Championships-2005

 

Venue: Sonar Gaon Pan Pacific Hotel, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dates: 28th April’05 – 6th May’05.

Open: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. (5)

India, Jordan.

Women: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Palestine. (5)

India, Pakistan.

Seniors: Bangladesh & Pakistan. (2)

Bangladesh, Pakistan.

37th Bermuda Bowl (22), 15th Venice Cup (22) & 3rd Seniors Bowl (22). Estoril, Portugal. (22nd Oct’05 – 5th Nov’05).

Italy, France & USA 1.

 

Bangladesh Bridge Federation (BBF), despite being a founder member of BFAME, was unable to host this prestigious event twice previously. for the first time at Sonar Gaon Pan Pacific Hotel from 28th April to 6th May’05.

Five Open & Five Women Teams representing six NBOs contested. Bahrain pulled out at the last minute and so did Qatar and Kuwait for want of a 4th player. Sri Lankan Women’s team also had to pull out, citing lack of sponsorship due to the Tsunami which caused devastation to the island, a few months earlier.

India completed a hat trick of wins in both the Open & Women category with Jordan qualifying as the other open team thus earning the right to represent at the Bermuda Bowl for the first time at Estoril, Portugal.

Pakistan Women’s team joined India for the second time for the Venice Cup.

In the Seniors category, no contest was held as only two entries were received and both Pakistan & Bangladesh thus qualified for the Seniors Bowl.

The championships were organized under adverse conditions. The overall arrangement seemed to lack local enthusiasm, the simplicity of opening and closing ceremonies showed inadequate sponsorships, yet Bangladesh Bridge Federation successfully lived up to its commitments this time in hosting the championships which were twice postponed earlier. The credit goes to Hasan Perwez Hussain, the chief organizer from BBF and the BFAME secretary who together managed to ensure smooth operation. Nevertheless, it was well conducted by the WBF Operations Director, Ton Kooijman as the Chief Tournament Director ably assisted by Ihsan Qadir from Pakistan and Abdul Aziz from Bangladesh. Jayaram from India assisted by Qazi Habibul Haq from Bangladesh took out the daily bulletins. The honourable minister for youth & sports, Mr. Fazlur Rahman was the chief guest at the closing ceremony. Officiating for WBF President Jose Damiani was Vice President Mazhar Jafri who as Guest of Honor addressed on behalf of WBF.

Asia & Middle East Championships - 2007

 

Venue: Carlton Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan

Dates: 12th May to 20th May’07

Open: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka (5)

India, Pakistan

Women: India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine (4)

Jordan, India

Seniors: India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka (4)

India, Pakistan

38th Bermuda Bowl (22) 16th Venice Cup (22) & 4th Seniors Bowl, Shanghai, China (29th September – 13th October’07)

Norway, USA-1, USA-2

 

Pakistan Bridge Federation finally managed to host the above championships after remaining a standby venue for a number of times which made a gap of 22 years. Despite the fact that Karachi is geographically the most centrally located venue for all the member countries lying east or west of it yet the attendance was disappointingly poor. The organizers had arranged a side event of Trans-national Teams Event with a cash prize of US$10,000/-. Even this failed to attract the expected large number of players from neighbouring countries.

It could be attributed to the ugly riots on the eve and the opening day which the city of Karachi witnessed as a possible cause for the unexpected low attendance.

Only 5 Open, 4 Women and 4 Senior teams representing 6 NBO’s contested, slightly bettering the attendance record with that of the previous. Again Sri Lankan women team, for want of sponsorship, could not participate for the second time running. Triple round robin of 20 board matches completed the qualification round which saw two top teams play the finals for the championship title. Obviously Semi Finals had to be omitted for technical reasons. India won the finals for the 4th consecutive time but after a nail biting close finish of only 2 imps over Pakistan. Jordan women caused a major upset by winning over India and in the Seniors category; it was again a very closely contested dual which India won over Pakistan.

Ton Koijman was the Chief Tournament Director ably assisted by Ihsan Qadir from Pakistan. Phillip Alder was the Chief Editor of Daily Bulletins assisted by R. Jayaram from India. Fotis Skoularikis from Greece assisted by Umair Kausar from Pakistan successfully used Bridge Mates (wireless hand held device which electronically transmits error free results for instant computing thus eliminating the need of inputs through computer slips) for the first time in a BFAME Championship. The match results were uploaded live on the internet and progressive results were available for viewing on the monitors around the hotel lobby.

Jose Damiani, President WBF graced the occasion along with our bridge legend Zia Mahmood who besides participating and winning the cash rich side teams event, presided over an impressive opening ceremony of a charitable school with the aid of The Citizens Foundation in the 2005 earthquake hit northern areas of Pakistan.

BFAME elections were held and Ghassan Ghanem was re-elected unopposed as President for a second term till 2011. Similarly M.Azwerul Haque as Secretary and D.P. Senaweera as Treasurer were also re-elected for the next term.

For the 2009 BFAME, Damascus in Syria was awarded the hosting of 15th Championships.

 

 

15th Asia & Middle East Championships - 2009

 

Venue: Regency Palace Hotel, Amman, Jordan

Dates: 26th June to 04th July’09

Open: Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria & Sri Lanka (9)

India, Pakistan

Women: India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine & Syria (5)

Jordan, Pakistan

Seniors: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan & Sri Lanka (5)

Pakistan, India

39th Bermuda Bowl (22) 17th Venice Cup (22) & 5th Seniors Bowl, Sao Paulo, Brazil (10th August – 26th August’09)

USA-2, China & England

 

Again like in 2001, Damascus declined to host and Jordan came to the rescue as it did in 2003 when Bangladesh declined at the last minute and after efforts to hold it in UAE did not materialize, Jordan earned the honour to host it for a record 3rd time. It boasted the highest number of participants as Zone-4 when 19 teams gathered to compete in all three categories.

Double Round Robin matches of 16 boards for the Open with Semis and Finals, while the Women went straight into the Finals after triple round robin of 16 board 15 matches. The Seniors competition was reduced to Double Round Robin and they played only 10 matches.

Three matches each day were shown LIVE on BBO under the able handling of Walid El Menyawi from Egypt. Bridgemates and BFAME website were handled by Umair Kausar from Pakistan. Antonius Kooijman was the Chief Tournament Director while the Daily Bulletin was edited by T. C. Pant & Raman Jayaram from India. A one day Tournament Directors Refresher Course was held on conclusion of the Championships.

Bahrain was awarded the 16th BFAME Championships to be held there in 2011.

 

Zone-4 & Zone-6 merger for the purpose of Olympic continental representation.

 

In December 2009, the president of zone-4, Ghassan Ghanem and Esther Chodchoy, president zone-6 met in Dubai along with WBF Vice President, Mazhar Jafri and finalized that all member countries of zone-4 would opt to become associate members of zone-6 and that the First Asia Cup involving these two zones would be held in Ning Bo, China in August 2010. Subsequently in 2010, Khunying Esther C. Sophonpanich of Thailand was elected President and Ghassan Ghanem as 2nd Executive Vice President while M.Azwerul Haque was elected as 2nd Honorary Secretary of Asia Pacific Bridge Federation (APBF) and the next Asia Cup was awarded to Bahrain.

 

16th Asia & Middle East Championships - 2011

 

Venue: Chola Sheraton, Chennai, India

Dates: 26th May to 1st June’11

Open: Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia & Sri Lanka (6)

Pakistan, India

Women: India, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine (4)

India, Jordan

Seniors: India, Pakistan (2)

India, Pakistan

40th Bermuda Bowl (22) 18th Venice Cup (22) & 6th Seniors Bowl, Veldhoven, Netherlands (16th August – 29th August’11)

Netherlands, France & France

 

Bahrain expressed its inability to host the 2011 edition of BFAME Championships for lack of preparations and agreed to swap it with India who approached them in Ning Bo, China in 2010, where the 1st Asia Cup involving Zone-4, 5 & 6 was held. India thus became the 2nd country to hold the BFAME Championships for the 3rd time. Unfortunately, the turnout was disappointingly low. The only silver lining was the resurrection of Saudi Arabian team which participated after gap of over a decade. There were only 10 teams as against 19 in the previous Championships held in Amman. There were 6 in the Open and 4 in the Women while there was no competition in the Seniors as only two teams from India & Pakistan registered themselves. The Championships were preceded by a Tournament Director’s Refresher Course conducted by Antonius Kooijman who also performed the duties of Chief Tournament Director. Triple R/R for Open and Quadruple R/R for Women with 3 matches of 16 boards were played to determine the top two qualifiers.  There were no Semi Finals. Bridgemates II were successfully managed by Sudhir Agarwal and T. C. Pant. Daily Bulletins were handled by Dr. Subir Roy.

It was the election year and BFAME elected a new president Uma Shankar Bhartia from India while N.R.K Moorthy, President of BFI preferred to be a Vice President in the BFAME Council and inducted Debasish Ray as Assistant Secretary. M. Azwerul Haque & D. P. Senaweera continued in their present capacity for another term. As in the past, Mazhar Jafri was re-elected as BFAME representative to WBF Executive Council.

The last WBF President Gianariggo Rona graced the occasion and presided over a special meeting and attended the Victory Banquet.

Bahrain was awarded the 17th BFAME Championships in 2013.

 

17th Asia & Middle East Championships - 2013

 

Venue: Hyatt Ahmedabad, India

Dates: 4th June to 11th June’13

Open: Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & UAE (7)

India, Bahrain

Women: India, Pakistan, Palestine & Sri Lanka (4)

Pakistan, India

Seniors: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka (4)

India, Bangladesh

 

The Championship started with two sessions of Friendship Open Pairs on the Opening day in which 68 pairs participated. Finally, 8 Open and 4 each in Women and Seniors representing 9 out of 13 member countries got themselves registered but Saudi Arabia Open Team had to withdraw at the last minute as their government permission could not be obtained thereby creating a Bye in the Round robin stage.

The Open Team played double round robin while the Women & Seniors played quadruple round robin matches of 16 boards each. Three matches per day were played by the Open Team while the others played only two a day. The Chief Tournament Director was Antonius Kooijman assisted by three local directors. The Bridgemates were handled by Sudhir Agarwal and Srinivasan while the Bulletin Editor was T. C. Pant. Board Duplication was immaculate. BBO transmissions were ably handled by Bharat Shah and his team.

Sunit Choksi had arranged a cocktail every evening, an idea appreciated by all as it gave an opportunity to mix around.

The Open Team played Semi Finals of 16x4=64 boards while the other two categories went straight to the Finals along with the Open Team to play Finals of 16x2=32 boards. In the Open Semi Finals India defeated UAE while Bahrain defeated Bangladesh. In the Finals India Open defeated Bahrain, Pakistan Women for the first time beat India in the Finals and India Seniors beat Bangladesh. Both the finalists in all the three categories having qualified for 41st Bermuda Bowl, 19th Venice Cup and 7th d’Orsi Seniors Trophy in Bali, Indonesia from the 16th to 29th September’13.

The WBF President Gianariggo Rona arrived from Hong Kong to inspect Championship facilities in Goa which he was supposed to go after the BFAME Championships. During his short stay he held a meeting with the BFAME delegates and presided over the prize giving ceremony.

The 18th BFAME was tentatively awarded to UAE. Bangladesh sought to host which could not be agreed as it would be third in a row for the Indian sub-continent. Nevertheless, Bangladesh asked for time up to their country’s general elections in early 2014 after which they would confirm.

 

 

 

 

18th Asia & Middle East Championships - 2015

 

Venue: Bristol Hotel, Amman, Jordan

Dates: 27th May to 3rd June’15

Open: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar and UAE (6)

Jordan, UAE with India pre-qualified.

Women: India, Jordan, Pakistan and Palestine and UAE (5)

Pakistan, Jordan with India pre-qualified

Seniors: India, Jordan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (4)

Pakistan, Sri Lanka with India pre-qualified

 

Jordan Bridge Federation had the honour of hosting the 18th edition of the prestigious biennial zonal BFAME championships for the 4th time in which WBF President, Gianarrigo Rona attended as the Chief Guest. Waleed El Menyawi of Egypt and Ihsan Qadir of Pakistan supervised the championship as Tournament Directors and their team covered the matches LIVE on BBO. Ron Tachhi took the responsibility of Editor for the Daily Bulletin.

Complete Triple Round Robin matches of 16 board segments for Open & Women were played throughout the Championships with uniform timings. The Seniors played quadruple Round Robin. Semi-Finals were played only for Open Teams, between Bahrain and Jordan and UAE and Bangladesh. Jordan and UAE played the Finals in the Open. India and Pakistan played the Finals in the Women while Sri Lanka and Pakistan played in the Seniors.

India abstained from the Open Teams as they stood pre-qualified by virtue of being host for the 42nd Bermuda Bowl, 20th Venice Cup and 8th d’Orsi Seniors Trophy along with 10th Transnational Teams Championships held at ITC Grand Chola Hotel in Chennai, India from 26th September till 10th October’15. It is creditable for BFI and BFAME that BFAME in its present status had the honour and privilege of hosting and organizing these World Teams Championships for the first time in its jurisdiction.

Election of BFAME Office Bearers were held towards the end and Ashok Kumar Goel of India was elected unopposed while M. Azwerul Haque and D. P. Senaweera retained their position as VP & secretary and Treasurer respectively. Bahjat Majali was added as Vice President in place of Yasmin Abu Jaber and Ahmed Al Midfa of UAE was made Vice President in view of him being the host for the next BFAME Championship.

Prior to the World Championship, there was an unfortunate development in which Sri Lanka could not participate for want of security of its players in view of the threat of disruption of championships by a regional political party.

The next 19th BFAME Championships have tentatively been awarded to UAE, subject to confirmation by the end of the year.

 

                                                                       

            (Originally composed by Mazhar Jafri and updated by M. Azwerul Haque)