Sports

Corporate support, a boost to the game of bridge

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on September 22, 2013

A game that depends more on the power of mind than body, contract bridge is taking off in a big way in the country. It may not be as popular as chess in India, but it has just begun to make a mark in recent times. The Corporate Bridge Association of India (CBAI) is in place and it is wooing more and more corporate honchos and bureaucrats to its fold.

The game is certainly popular around the world for its creative and competitive qualities. Illustrious names such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are keen practitioners of the sport. Since the advent of the CBAI last year, the game received a shot in the arm in its march towards creating a niche in the world of sport.

Headed by Deepak Parekh (Chairman, HDFC Bank); Debasish Ray (Joint Secretary, Bridge Federation of India); H.M. Bangur (Managing Director, Shree Cement); Ashok Kumar Ruia (CMD, Phoenix Mills); and Sanjoy Bhattacharya (Managing Partner, Fortuna Capital), the CBAI was instrumental in giving further boost to the image of the sport. Added to this was the Union Government’s decision to upgrade bridge to the priority list.

With Bangur of Shree Cement coming forward to support the endeavour, the inaugural corporate bridge tournament last year saw a huge participation. Bridge is ideally suited to the temperament of the leaders of the industry, feels Bangur. A keen enthusiast, who refrains from playing at the national level tournaments because he knows “his limitations,” feels the sport will take off in a big way in this country.

“The response to the championship is overwhelming and we have to include more teams this year. I am sure it will further expand in future.”

Among the captains of industry who will enliven the proceedings are: Rajiv Chinubhai of Arvind Mills; Ravi Dudhane, CEO, Visa International; Mahesh Gupta, CMD, Kent RO Systems India; M.K. Modi, Chairman, Modi Group; I.K. Jaiswal, Vice-President, International, Asian Paints; Brahmajyoti Mukherjee, COO, Magma Financial Corporation; Sambuddha Dev, COO, Wipro; and Sanjay Johri, MD, Voltas. There will be more than 90 players in fray in the day-long pairs event.

With newer avenues opening up for the development of this sport in India, corporate bodies are expected to play a vital role in taking the movement forward. Apart from catching the talent young, the need of the hour is to organise more tournaments to popularise the game at every conceivable level.

sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 22, 2013

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