Zia Mahmood: Don’t Be A Full Time Bridge Player; It’s The Greatest Hobby But The Hardest Profession
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a pro at bridge? Here's a short and sweet one on one with the ace bridge player Zia Mahmood who accidentally discovered his love for the hobby while trying to befriend a girl!
Q. Over the period of years, you’ve had quite a few professions. Tell us more.
A. I qualified as an accountant, which I found boring. After that I was a poker croupier - never saw the daylight. I worked as a newspaper’s chief executive for a few years. I have authored five to six books on Bridge.
Q. Two things nobody knows about Zia Mahmood?
A. I once asked Omar Sharif to get me into a movie (to make some cash), he refused, saying that acting is for losers and that bridge is far superior a pastime. I discovered the secret of life at age 56 – it is the feeling a parent gets when they see a smile of joy on the face of their child.
Q. Why did you decide to play bridge?
A. I started playing while trying to befriend a girl who played. ‘The operation was a success but the patient died!’
Q. Which tournament was your favourite?
A. 1981 Bermuda Bowl with the Pakistani team – we won the silver medal, but it was a greater achievement and pleasure for me than any of my later gold medals I have won while not playing for Pakistan.
Q. Any piece of advice you would like to give to young bridge players?
A. Don’t be a full-time bridge player; it’s the greatest hobby but the hardest profession.
Q. What are the three essential skills one requires to be a good bridge player?
A. In no particular order: efficient problem-solving ability, ability to put a setback out of your mind and remain focused and courage.