• Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:44 pm

Niaz clinches sixth title after seven year gap

  • Published at 09:57 pm November 11th, 2019
Niaz Murshed
Grandmaster Niaz Murshed and tournament’s youngest participant Manon Reja Neer during their last round of Saif Powertec 45th National Chess Championship at the Institute of Engineers of Bangladesh building in Dhaka Dhaka Tribune

Niaz beat the tournament’s youngest participant, Manon Reja Neer, in the 10th and last round at the Institute of Engineers of Bangladesh building in Dhaka Monday

South Asia’s first Grandmaster Niaz Murshed has emerged as the unbeaten champion of the Saif Powertec 45th National Chess Championship 2019.

Niaz beat the tournament’s youngest participant, Manon Reja Neer, in the 10th and last round at the Institute of Engineers of Bangladesh building in Dhaka Monday.

It took Niaz, the second oldest participant at the meet after WIM Rani Hamid, only 22 moves to seal the victory, as well as his sixth national chess title after a gap of seven years, with eight points. The 53-year-old, who did not participate in the last two editions, described the latest tournament as the most competitive one that he has participated in.

“When I won last time, in 2012 after 30 years, there were only three Grandmasters. Enamul Hossain Razib and Abdullah Al Rakib didn’t participate. This time, all five Grandmasters took part, so it is the most competitive national chess event I have ever taken part in. I am really happy,” said Niaz, who represented Bangladesh Ansar for the first time.

Niaz participated in the National Chess Championship for the first time at the age of only nine in 1975, the same age as Neer in this year’s edition. He won his first title in 1979, before clinching three more titles consecutively in the following years.

“The National Chess Championship was not that tough those days. There were not enough tournaments. The game has now changed a lot. It was difficult because all five GMs participated. The toughest game was winning against Reefat (Bin Sattar). I could have won against Zia (Ziaur Rahman) but it ended in a draw,” added Niaz.

Niaz also praised Neer, who concluded his National Chess Championship debut with 5.5 points. “I am the eldest participant in the meet while Neer is youngest. He has good strength and international level talent. We should set a target to make him a grandmaster by the time he is aged 15.”

Meanwhile, the most entertaining game of the day was between the country’s youngest International Master Mohammad Fahad Rahman and his coach Grandmaster Razib. The match was the longest of the day and ended in a draw.

GM Abdullah Al Rakib finished as runner-up with seven points, while Fahad placed third due to tie breakers. The other GMs, Reefat and Zia, finished fourth and sixth with 6.5 and 6 points, respectively.