LAHORE The 13th Balijee Bridge Championship held at the bridge tables of Lahore Gymkhana from November 6 to November 9 brought together the best bridge players of the country. With the top ones competing, visible was an exotic mix of intelligent play, control and strong moves and one can safely say that the ultimate victors, the Preemptors comprising Jahangir Ahmad, Izzat Khalil, Anisur Rehman, Shahab Sarki, Farrukh Liaquat and Junaid Said turned in consistent play in the last days sessions to cow down and overtake many strong contenders. And in this process of extinction from the top position, Gheewala V were a casualty, progress of Lums Aces was amply put to a halt and the biggest jolt was given to the Data Steel team who have experienced national players in their ranks. The Preemptors team may have emerged on top but along the way, most of the time, the click of the form of teams like Gheewala V, Aces , Data Steel, Sabres and Lums Aces has been has been evident and even against extremely strong challengers their team effort has been outstanding, notwithstanding the fact that they missed out the top slot. Once again Aijaz Ahmad of Yummy Milk Products and his sister Mrs Tahira Nasir have been superb hosts and in particular Tahira Nasir appears as the live wire in the whole process; the spirit of bridge promotion is there and also continuously oozing is the family hospitality with result that Balijee Bridge is an integral part of the national calendar, thus keeping the memory of a noble father Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal(affectionately known as Balijee) alive. As for the final days sessions, the overnight leaders Gheewala V were rattled by Data steel but the knockout punch that threw them off the top of the leaderboard was a surprising draw against Sabres. However that should not take the credit away from the combined efforts of the Preemptors team who were effective in tackling whoever came their way on the last day. The final standings of top six teams 1. Preempters: Izzat Khalil, Jahangir Ahmed, Anisur Rehman, Shahab Sarki, Farrukh Liaquat, Junaid Said, 163 Victory Points (VPs) 2. Gheewala V: Anwar Gheewala, Anwar Kizilbash, Tariq Zafar, Tanveer Mazahir, Ghulam Muhammad 162 (VPs) 3. Aces: Abdul Khalique, Nasir Raza Khan, A. K. Burgri, Parvez Zafar, Asghar Abbas, Yawar Abbas 160 VPs 4. Data Steel: Javed Khalid, Rashidul Ghazi, Tahir Masood, Javed Miran, Pervez Mirza, Tariq Rasheed Khan 161 VPs 5. Sabres: AVM (R) Niaz Hussain, A. Cmdr (R) Qamar Kiani, Manzar Shafique, Asad Shah 156 VPS 6. Lums Aces: Ahsan Qureshui, Nauman Butt, Malik Ghias, Arshad 151 VPs The Balijee Bridge Gala has established itself as an event of magnificence although Tahira Nasir was gracious in passing on the credit to the sculptors, architects and artisans with Ihsan Qadir in the forefront conducting all stages with precision, accuracy and free of compromises plus exercising exemplary control over the team. A special one who deserves a mention here is Ameer Hussain whose contribution can be grade as significant. Others who cant be missed are bridge players Javed Khalid, Mr and Mrs Shauq Hussain, Ali Abbas and Tahir Abbas, Hamid Zaman, Izzat Khalil and Sarfraz Butt.