Saturday September 25, 2021

Bridge stalwarts Kemal and Ameer pass away

November 27, 2020

KARACHI: It turned out to be a very gloomy Thursday for the Pakistan bridge fraternity as two of the finest and longest serving players, Kemal Shoaib and Syed Ameer Hasan, breathed their last in their home city of Karachi on November 26. Both of them were in their 80s.

Born on November 5, 1936 in Jaunpur, India, Kemal Shoaib had graduated in chemical engineering from the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1960. A son of former federal minister Muhammad Shoaib, he was employed as the CEO of numerous banking and industrial organisations in a number countries, including the US, the UK and Pakistan.

More recently, he was an advisor to several companies on the Capital Markets, and served as Chairman of International Steel, Century Paper and International Advertising.

For the past 12 years, he had been on the board of the Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP), seeking to promote chess, bridge and scrabble at schools and colleges.

He represented Pakistan at international bridge forums at the highest levels, initially partnering with Zia Mahmood. He would have taken satisfaction in that his last tournament was the 2019 UAE National Day pairs which he won with his partner Khurshid Hadi at a record-shattering combined ages of over 160. He was an avid golfer and in his youth, a national table tennis champion.

Khurshid Hadi, MSAP's founder president, and Azwer-ul-Haq, Vice President, Bridge Federation of Asia and Middle East (BFAME), paid glowing tributes to both the veterans.

“Kemal was a bridge hall of famer. It was a privilege having partnered with him for so many years,” Khurshid noted in a brief conversation with ‘The News’ on Thursday evening. "Ameer Hasan was the backbone of bridge history, as he recorded national and international events and published the longest surviving bridge chronicle anywhere in Asia. The passing away of the two is a big loss for Pakistan bridge," he added.

"Ameer Hasan made contribution to the sport more with his reporting and he was in the process of writing a book on the history of Pakistan bridge,” Azwer said.

Ameer, a prolific bridge writer, had been sharing news with media as well as fellow players for the past few decades, but ironically, there was no one to provide details about his death, neither at the Pakistan Bridge Federation nor the Karachi Bridge Associates, the two bodies he served with dedication and passion for many years.