Buenos Aires, January 6, 2017
1) Where were you born? and Where do you live? Do you have a college degree? Are you married, children?
I was born in İZMİR, West Coast of Turkey, very beautiful city. Now I am living in Istanbul just because of some business matters. Hope to go İZMİR soon again.
I am married (2ND WİFE) 2 grown up daughter. Names: Begüm and Sena which gives my meaningless BBO name: BEGSE.
Graduated from one of the best universities called Bosphorus (boğaziçi) University (business administration).
2) Hobbies? Reading? Sports? Movies? Music? Favorite food? Favorite Drink?
Used to be a very good and popular soccer player at university. Love almost all kind of sports, watch time to time.
Also I was the president of a football club for 5 years. I love to read but my eyes not strong enough now. Reading less nowadays. Love different types of music. Rarely go to the movies.
Love vegetables made with olive oil, cheese and yoghurt while drinking RAKİ Turkish national drink. I love all kind of food my weight proves the fact.
3) Now about your first contacts with bridge: When and how were you captured by bridge?
Started at university and I became familiar with card games, just played in university for 2 years. Then I discovered clubs, bigger tournaments. After 1 year I won my first national. It was 1973 when I started and luckily bridge was popular in my university and we had regular tournaments there.
4-) Did you have and if so … who was your mentor in your beginning and your memories of those years?
I had few mentors. PLAY WİTH REESE was our guide book. There is nobody I was very much influenced but İLHAN ONAT (international chess expert) is the name I should give. He was much older than us and passed away.
5-) How many years passed and how did you decided to become a bridge professional?
I played for Turkish National Team in 1979 and played 15 different European and World Olympiad for my country.
In 1980 I started working in our family company producing plastic pipes and profiles. Till 2003, we continued there then we decided to separate with my brother and unfortunately had a lot of problems due to my personal guarantees to his companies.
By that time me and Salvo got an offer to play Sinclair team and met Anita on that opportunity.
My first partner was the one which we started together. Then I play with some good players since I met SALVO. Salvo was relatively very inexperienced those days. I give him the clues, important points about the game according to my style and knowledge.
Afterwards he worked a lot and made me know new conventions, solutions, systems, analysis etc. We changed roles he became my teacher. Being a very good friend we had very good harmony with him and we enjoyed playing with each other.
I should be won at least, one big tournament every year in my country, of course the first one, was very exciting. When we won the Blue Ribbon Pairs in U.S.A was another big moment. To win the World Mixed Championship was very surprising since Anita was only a 6 year player. But she had an amazing performance over there and our contribution to our super team was really very good.
7-) Players you admired in those days…and why? And Now?
Zia is my very good friend for many years. I admire his creativity and practical style. Learn a lot from him. A lot of players. I admire many very good players all of them proved themselves.
😎 Weaknesses and strengths in bridge? Something a bridge professional can’t fail to have.
I want to win every board, I think that this is not a good strategy. I like my style and a lot of people likes to watch me. I like playing reasonably fast.
9-) Salvador Assael and You, have been partners for 17 years and have represented Turkey in many international events. Which are your best memories about him? Some special memory about the Blue Ribbon pairs 2001?
Salvo was a great player. Especially long tournaments such as the Europeans his concentration was raising day by day. That is very important factor for a good player.
We always had better performance on the last days of long tournaments. Blue Ribbon was our first experience in American Nationals and Salvo played much better than me.
Photo Team «Salvo»: Roy Welland, Sabine Auken, Nafiz Zorlu, Zia Mahmood, Anita Baker and Marion Michielsen
10-) In 2014 You took part in the “Salvo” team that won the mixed world cup in Sanya (CHI) in 2014, Which memories do You want to share with us about this event? Do you still have the shirt?
Sanya we were a team where everybody likes each other very much. Everybody except for Marion (Michielsen) knew Salvo very well and tried their best to make him happy.
Salvo shirt of course with me, but after we won Zia wear this T-shirt . Very nice gesture for my dear partner.
11-) Recently You were elected as President of the Turkish Bridge Federation. How many members? What are your short and long term plans?
İn 1997 Turkish Bridge Federation was accepted as a sports federation. And I was the founding president by that time. Later on I left and concentrate on my player career. (Which I much prefer) Some conflicts and intendances from especially youngsters made me to accept the position.
We have 15.500 total players, 5.500 licensed last year. First aim is at least to have 10.000 licensed players. You can imagine if I accept such a position that means I am aiming a revolution.
We will become an important bridge country soon but this is not only in our hands. We need some sponsorship and government support. BBO is also a field where we make training tournaments and lessons for our licensed members. Lot of foreigners are expected to get a license of T.B.F to be able to join the programmer. I personally join time to time.
12-) What can you tell us about the High school bridge and the university bridge in Turkey? How many federated junior players does your NBO have?
U16 Bridge is very new but we have some 300 players at the moment and tend to grow. Universities and youngsters we have some 1000 youngsters and most of them are new.
13-) How do you combine your leadership position with your player position? Is this a conflict?
There might be a conflict of interest. At the moment ı didn’t give up my player career but if needed I adore myself to federation facilities. Try to play more international events. Time to work hard.
More than 40 years ı am in bridge and Turkey deserves to be a bridge country for international events. Although having rough times nowadays this country is a heaven with new hotels, sea, sun everything. Hope we can manage to break the image soon.
14-) What advices would you like to give a young player who just started? And to a player that wants to begin his professional carrier?
First of all to become bridge professional is very difficult. You need to be a very, very good player besides side factors, and you have to be somehow recognized. So if you come to a point to play that good may your chance catch you.
[box]My recommendation to youngsters: read, listen your master and watch vu-graphs and high-quality Bridge.[/box]