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Non Pro Turkish Pair wins the European Champ Open Pairs!

Congrats to my dear friends Nafiz Zorlu and Nezih Kubac from Turkey for winning the EC opean pairs event after long and tiring sessions vs many good players!  

One thing I have to note is that these are NOT pro players. That does not mean they play any worse than professionals.

But who are they? Most top players here already know them but I will write for those who do not.

 Nezih Kubac: One of the best players in Turkey, played many times for national team and partnered with Melih Ozdil for long time. He does not play professionally.

 Nafiz Zorlu: Current  President of Turkish Bridge Federation. Played many times for Turkish national team. Won Blue Ribbon pairs in 2002 if I remember correctly with Salvador Assael(R.I.P). Won World Mix Teams with Anita Sinclair teammates Zia Mahmood, Roy Welland, Sabine Auken, Marion Michielsen in 2014.  Just before he won this event, his long term pd and best friend Salvador passed in 2012 while they were on a bridge trip in Lyon.

Nafiz Zorlu is one of the most popular and loved people in Turkey. He was also president of a Turkish Premium League Soccer team, Altay for a long time. He is the one who started and succeeded the transition of Bridge community to be accepted as a sport in Turkey which then started to be sponsored and supported by government. As a result they were able to promote bridge in schools. They were able to use stadiums and basketball arenas as well as many other convention centers for the Bridge activities and events. These supports and some other private sector support allowed Turkey to be the host of some international big events which everyone seemed happy about the quality of these organisations. Right now, if I am not wrong, #2 most populated nation in BBO is Turkey right after USA.

Bridge in Turkey is growing like a snowball everyday. There are so many people who needs to be applaud for this, so many people are doing their best in order for bridge to grow but no need to say Nafiz Zorlu is at the top of these names for most of us Turks and we appreciate him for this.

He was my ex partner, mentor and in a lot of way he was and still is like my father. I am so happy for him and Nezih! I am also happy that Mustafa Cem Tokay, another Turkish player and my close friend, ended up 3rd, partnering Alfredo Versace. They are both pro players. Another Turkish pair was in first 3 for a long time and they are Suleyman Kolata and Ismail Kandemir, also pro players, finished 7th.

Of course Zia Mahmood and Jeff Meckstroth had a great run also all the way to the end. But they finished 2nd overall. First time I am happy that Meckstroth did not win it, for obvious reasons, despite being one of the most fanatic Meckwell fan!

BBO nickname of Nafiz is "Begse"

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