Zeke Jabbour has just about done it all in bridge. He’s a Grand Life Master with more than 31,000 masterpoints and eight North American titles. He was won silver and bronze medals in world competition, and in 1989 he won the Barry Crane Top 500 masterpoint race. Jabbour’s specialty has been Senior events. He was a member of the winning team in the six of the first eight Baze Senior Knockout Teams, and he has two victories in the Truscott/USPC Senior Swiss Teams.
That’s an impressive resume, but the masterpoints and the wins are not what make Jabbour one of the most beloved figures in the game.
ACBL members got to know Jabbour by reading his column in the Bridge Bulletin. The column – Winsome and Loathsome (W&L), Tales of the Trail – debuted in 1999 and continued for more than a decade and a half until Jabbour’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease – he was diagnosed in 1996 – became a nearly insurmountable barrier to writing.
In W&L, Jabbour routinely poked fun at himself and entertained readers with stories of his early days in bridge. In his first column, Jabbour wrote about being lost in a shopping center parking lot looking for his car, finally being rescued by a man in a van. Not long after that, Jabbour was playing in a sectional Swiss teams and was having trouble finding his home table. As he wandered around, obviously in a quandary, he heard a voice: “Are you lost again?” It was the man in the van. “It was then,” Jabbour wrote, “that I realized I should start thinking about a new day job. I know I’m too sexy for television. But maybe, I thought to myself, I should try being a writer. Those guys got it made.”
Jabbour has maintained his sense of humor and amiable disposition despite the health challenges. Sharon, his wife, says Parkinson’s has slowed her husband down, “but he’s still as sweet and kind as ever. He refuses to let the disease define him.” At the bridge table, she says, her husband often plays slowly, “but he will not allow himself to play a wrong card.”
In 2013, District 9’s Sportsmanship Award went to Jabbour. It was renamed for him the following year. At the 2016 Fall NABC in Orlando, Zeke was on hand for the presentation of the award to Jeff Meckstroth.
Although loath to brag about his accomplishments or popularity, Jabbour jokes that he has so many friends and admirers because he tells people, “You’ve got to love me or else.” For those who know Zeke Jabbour, that’s an easy one.