Remembering Jyotindra Madhukar Shah

JM Shah, the legend of Indian bridge, probably the best talent we ever had, left us for his heavenly abode today.

Almost every bridge player has been richer due to his interaction with JM over the years, as far as memory goes. He was certainly a legend when I started playing, and I never let go of an opportunity to watch him in my early bridge days.

I’m sure we all have extremely fond memories of him. Request you all to share those with others here, so we can go back and pay our respects to his memory any time we think of him




6 thoughts on “Remembering Jyotindra Madhukar Shah

  • May 6, 2020 at 5:48 PM

    What a fabulous human being he was !! Staying in Gujarat, I was lucky to watch him at various state and national tournaments and his name was spelled as a "Terror force" in the local circuits !! Back in 2005 my first live major tournament, it was an amazing experience and I still remember a deal where he was playing a Local team at a higher ranked table in the initial league round, where most tables bid a 33 HCP slam but on trick 2 lamented 5-0 Trump break. At this table, a local pair blustered with a huge smile and hammered a X card in a flash.. Not sure of the micro seconds,, the next bid displayed was 6NT which again got X with defender’s ptner now joining the death party !! The only grievance was by the time the Kibitzers got up to see dummy, a claim was triggered at Trick 3 displaying a double squeeze !! Some packets unfolded from his pocket, mixtures were measured and Silence prevailed in that match till the end !

  • May 6, 2020 at 7:55 PM

    JM was one person who was loved by one and all.. He was a bridge legend the whole country and all his opponents all over the world know.. but unknowingly he was sucha humourous guy it is difficult to explain.. I was fortunate to have played with him for almost 2 years when i was playing for Texan Aces.. So all the events that were in india .. i used to get opportunity to play with him..I literelly loved him.. his mannerisms. on and off the table.. it was mesmerizing . whenever i was playing with him i was learning something or the other.. One thing which i would never forget is what he taught me off the table. We were playing together in Bangalore and i dont remember the name of the event.. 3rd round ,JM asked me to check the draw.. i checked and when he asked me what table and opp .. i replied “koi phaltu opps che” .. he stared at me without saying anything.. the match was over and we lost by some 7-8 imps.. and he said how much faltu must we be that we have lost to this faltu team.. and i got the messege very clearly .. that never take your opps lightly ..
    JM was a sparkling Gem who will be remebered for ever for all the good reasons.

  • May 6, 2020 at 10:34 PM

    Back in 2010, Kolkata National, playing quarter final against JM’s team – can’t remember the full team. I can remember the 2nd session, myself partnering Suhas Vaidya, playing at JM’s table, not sure who his partner was (may be Sandeep Karmakar?). Probably on the first board or may be on the second, we had a not so convincing auction to reach a vulnerable 4Hs and got doubled by JM. After dummy appeared, I found that there were 4 losers if I could manage the trump suit for one loser, otherwise it would be down two. Not played against JM many times before and not having a very good idea about him, I tried to take a 4-1 trump break protection and eventually set up a ruff for them (trumps were 3-2) and ended up with -500. What I understood, he did not like our auction, and he doubled – not based on his hand but from his bridge intuition he felt this contract would not be going to make.

    I mentioned this incident as this tells a lot about J M Shah. He was not only technically superb, but he had a very sharp bridge nose. I would say, I found him more dangerous as opponent compared to most of the other big names. Where other great players will also do good things on the table but they might not take unconventional actions, but JM would not miss any opportunity to score imps on the table – he was very active on the table but not like other super active players to through imps at the cost of adventurism, he used to do that with an amazing strike rate.

  • October 17, 2020 at 1:14 AM

    Known JM for more than 45 years. The most significant lesson I learned by observing him was the importance of concentration. I could see that most of my silliness and missed opportunities at the table could have been averted if only…

    …well, not everyone can be like JM!

  • October 17, 2020 at 8:43 AM

    I knew JM since 1976 form IIT days. We both started our bridge career as partners. I was his first partner and it lasted a few years. I had no clue on how we won a few tournaments in and around Madras. We made our first trip to Delhi Nationals, not sure about the year – 1979?, just to watch Jeremey Flint from UK. During early 80’s while we both were in IITM, JM was under stress financially. He was forced out of the IIT based on the new rule “One must graduate with in 7-years”. It was unfortunate that such a genius could not get his degree. I went out of means (was earning very little) to support him for his stay. Thanks to Late Boaz, we could put him in a dorm for an year or so. Mean while, he got a call form Mumbai to play for a sponsor. As you all know – rest is history of his brilliant career. He remained a loyal friend ever since until his sad demise. He played for my team whenever I requested him. I am sure his contribution to popularize the game for younger generation was valuable and appreciated.


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