National bridge: Ajay Bagaria's team snatches lead

Kolkata, Dec 17 (IANS) City-based Ajaya Bagaria's team took the pole position again after round nine for Ruia Gold Cup in the 54th Winter National Bridge Championship here Monday.

The team - comprising veterans - Gobinda (Khoka) Sinha, Sudhir Ganguly, Ajay Bagaria, Pinaki Khan and Sadhan Bose -finished at the top Sunday evening after the third round but slid to fifth and joint second position after the fifth and eighth rounds.

They took the lead again after round nine collecting 170 Victory Points (VPs). A couple of points behind the leaders are Hemant Jalan's team, also from Kolkata, who have secured 168 VPs. Another strong contender Indian Blues Bombay now lie third with 167 VPs.

Meanwhile, title holders Railways "A", warmed up after a lacklustre performance Sunday to move up three places to sixth gathering 158 VPs behind formidables of Delhi and Shree Cement from Kolkata, both of whom tallied 161 Vps.

After a total of 16 rounds of Swiss League, the teams reaching the pre-quarter finals would be finalised.

From pre-quarter finals, the tournament would be played on a knock-out basis.