9-year-old grabs NCC spot
At just nine years old, Candidate Master Manon Reja Neer became the country's youngest player to earn a place in the National Chess Championship (NCC) when the lad from Narayanganj finished sixth in the qualifying round at the Bangladesh Chess Federation hall room on Thursday.
Manon, who along with three other players secured seven points, finished sixth in through the tie-breaking system, dethroning the subcontinent's first Grand Master (GM), Niaz Murshed, in the process. Niaz was the previous record holder for youngest to reach the championships at the age of 10. The current chess sensation, FIDE Master Mohammad Fahad Rahman and Tahsin Tajwar Zia, son of GM Ziaur Rahman, had entered the tournament at the ages of 12 and 13 respectively.
"I started playing in the qualifying round at the age of nine and qualified for the national chess championship at the age of 10," Niaz told the Daily Star. "At that time, we had to play against all the competitors but this time around, the league is being held on the Swiss-league basis."
"I started participating in the qualifying round of the national championship at the age of 10 and qualified for the main competition at the age of 13 in 2018," said Zia, adding that Manon is doing well at junior level competitions.
Manon has been playing at domestic and international tournaments on a regular basis and proved his talents by winning four gold and one silver medal from the Commonwealth Junior Championship in Delhi, Asian Youth Championship in Colombo and Western-Asian Youth Championship in Uzbekistan.
The top ten players of the qualifying round will join others in the National Chess Championship, set to begin on November 1.