School failures return with new hope

Since the emergence of Enamul Hossain Razib as the country’s fifth and final grandmaster in 2008, no Bangladeshi chess player has won a single GM standard.

The deplorable state of the game has apparently prompted the Bangladesh Chess Federation (BCF) to revive the school chess tournament, which had produced such talented players as former Women’s National Champion Sharmin Sultana Shirin, WIM Shamima Akter Liza, IM Minhazuddin Ahmed Sagor and IM Mohammad Fahad Rahman. .

Standard Chartered Bank played a key role in the rise of talented players from 1999 to 2012 with the exception of two years from 2009 to 2010, but the bank withdrew its sponsorship due to the failure of organizers to organize the final round in Dhaka in 2013.

The broken pipeline is now about to be revived thanks to the Marks Active School Chess Championship, a championship that will be played in a home and away format. The inauguration of the championship took place at a hotel in Dhaka on Monday and matches will start on July 23 in 16 districts.

“We have organized the school tournament twice in the past six years with students only from Dhaka schools. coming years,” said BCF Secretary General Syed Shahabuddin. Ahmed Shamim told the Daily Star yesterday.

Unlike previous occasions, this time participating schools are given prominence with eight to 10 educational institutions competing on a home and away format in each of the 64 districts before the district champions move on to the divisional level. and that eight divisional champions play in the final round in Dhaka. .

Some 20,000 students from 3,500 schools across the country are expected to be involved and players will receive a week’s training before kick-off at the district level.

“We don’t want to chase a sixth, seventh or eighth Grandmaster, rather we want to produce at least 100 potential players, who will have a rating between 2200 and 2400 and have the ability to fight for GM standards, through this championship. “, said the general secretary of BCF.

General manager Razib called BCF’s initiative and the different format of the championship encouraging.

“As the schools will compete in teams, I believe the new format will increase interest for schools, which previously did not show much interest in individual participants (students),” Razib said, adding that the goal of the home-and-away format is to inspire schools to create chess clubs and a chess culture in every school across the country.

“We should aim to spread chess across the country instead of aiming to get a sixth grandmaster. FM, IM then GM will automatically come, which is happening in India now,” Razib said.

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