Bangladesh will send their biggest ever team in an overseas chess competition when 21 players will fly for New Delhi today to participate in the 28th Commonwealth Chess Championship, scheduled from July 2-10.
This is for the first time federation will bear the expenses of all players during a Commonwealth meet, one of the prestigious international competition ranked right behind the Chess Olympiad, said players and the officials of the Bangladesh Chess Federation.
A total of 12 promising young players will accompany four Grand Masters, a Fide Master, two Women International Masters, a Women Fide Master and a senior player in Over-60 age group.
Eight Bangladeshi players – GM Ziaur Rahman, GM Abdullah Al Rakib, GM Enamul Hossain Rajib, GM Niaz Murshed, FM Taibur Rahman, WIM Rani Hamid, WIM Shamima Akter Liza and WFM Sharmin Sultana Shirin – will participate in the Open section.
The remaining players, who included eight boys and four girls and Over-60 Hanif Mollah, will compete in their respective age group.
‘This is for the first time we are sending a team as big as this at the expense of federation, said federation general secretary Syed Shahab Uddin Shamim at a press conference on Saturday.
‘Our main target is to judge our young players, who have been training under three Grand Masters for the last three months.
‘We want to see how they perform and then would take the necessary steps for their future development. If needed we will appoint foreign coach for them,’ he said.
Bangladeshi players had had some success in the competition, which was introduced in 1983.
Niaz Murshed earned his second GM norm from the Hong Kong Commonwealth Games in 1984 while youngest GM Rajib became third in the 2008 edition in Nagpur, India.
GM Ziaur Rahman, currently the top-ranked Bangladeshi player with the rating point of 2526, expressed his gratitude to the federation for taking such an initiative for a rare occasion.
‘It’s a great initiative taken by the federation because in the past we had to participate in the Commonwealth Chess Championship at our own expense,’ said Zia, who was nurturing new talents alongside Rakib and Rajib for the last three months.
‘It would provide a golden opportunity to the junior players, who seldom get a chance to play a tournament in abroad,’ he said.
Zia believed that country’s youngest Fide Master Fahad Rahman have a bright chance to win a medal in his Under-14 age category.
‘Fahad [Rahman] is expected to produce good result because he is going to play in Under-14 age category,’ said Zia, whose son Tahsin Tajwar Zia, also made it to the tour party as a promising kid in the Under-12 category.
Rajib was also hoping to get some good result from the young players.
‘After working with the junior players, we saw some notable improvement in them,’ he said.
‘I just hope it will be a great experience for them in such big event,’ he added.
Mahmuda Hoque Chowdhury, the wife of federation general secretary Shahbuddin, will travel with the team as lone official.