Mr. Masood Saleem
A bridge legend Mr. Masood Saleem ranks high amongst the top notch bridge experts of the world. For almost three decades, his outstanding achievements for Pakistan in the Bridge arena, both at home and abroad have no parallel in the history of sport in Pakistan. Right from 1978, when Pakistan first burst upon the international Bridge scene, as Runners up in the Far East Bridge Federation Championship despite the handicap of two walkovers to Taiwan, with the Pakistan Team spear headed by Masood Saleem, to the recently concluded Attock Petroleum Open Pairs Championship in 2000 which he won with Rashidul Ghazi at Islamabad, Masood Saleem's prolific abilities at bridge has led to a string of staggering bridge victories to Pakistan.
Having finished runners-up, in the very first appearance by Pakistan, in the Bermuda Bowl World Championship held in 1981, Masood Saleem was rated as the most gifted bridge player in world bridge with a remarkable in born natural talent that led him to be distinction of having won the most laurels for his country in Bridge. Towering high and mighty amongst his Pakistani contemporaries (with the celebrated Zia Mahmud, his bridge partner for over a decade and a half, and now no longer representing Pakistan).
Masood Saleem's artistry in handling problems of bidding, play and defence in Bridge is worth applauding for, as he combines his natural ability of card handling with his profound knowledge of the game backed by a phenomenal memory.
Having won the National Championship 7 times and the Asia, Middle-East and Africa Bridge Zonal Championship 5 times in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, four times in succession followed by the last victory in 1999 at Colombo with the Pakistan Team, and that too for the first time without the services of Zia Mahmud. Masood Saleem also has the distinction of reaching the final of the World Bridge Pairs Olympiad in 1990 with Zia Mahmud and also winning the 2000 SAARC Bridge Championship held at Karachi. The passion and zeal with which he plays bridge is reflected in the tears he sheds at the failure of his team mates.
Bridge as a sport has won recognition to be included henceforth in the World Olympics. Pakistan's greatest sportsman, apart from the squash king, Jahangir Khan is Masood Saleem. The man who more than any one else has led Pakistan to the highest number of victories, the most devoted player in the game who has to his credit the Bols Briallancy Prize which is awarded to the top ten best played bridge hands in the world. He is the only player from Africa, Asia, Middle East, who has won the coveted Romex Award for the best bid Bridge Hand in the world in 1985. This brilliant and charismatic Pakistani Bridge Player has yet not been given any national recognition whilst his team mate Zia Mahmud has won the Pride of Performance.