FIDE Master Fahad Rahman earned the title of International Master after clinching the trophy of the Asian Zonal Championship during an intriguing final round at the Engineers' Institute in Dhaka yesterday.
The 16-year-old, who had earned his FIDE Master status back in 2013, also earned the ticket to the Men's World Cup in Russia in September this year due to his triumph in the zonal championship, where he was taking part for the first time.
The young chess player was ecstatic with his achievement. “Winning the title on my first appearance, that too from amidst five GMs and two IMs, is a big achievement. I'm excited that I will play in the World Cup,” Fahad told The Daily Star after his triumph.
Fahad was trailing overnight leader GM Enamul Hossain Razib by 0.5 points ahead of the final round, but while he beat FM Mehedi Hasan Parag to earn seven points from nine rounds, Razib lost against fellow GM Reefat Bin Sattar to finish in third position. That left Fahad and Reefat tied on seven points, but due to Fahad's wins over more higher-ranked players throughout the championship, he edged the more experienced Reefat to the title.
“Yesterday when I was trailing Razib bhai, I hoped I would win the IM status by winning today's match, but I didn't think I would win the title. I didn't think Razib bhai would lose. So it was a pleasant surprise for me,” Fahad said.
Meanwhile, in the women's section, WFM Sharmin Sultana Shirin clinched the title, beating WIM Rani Hamid in the final round to collect 7.5 points from the championship. The triumph earned Shirin WIM status while also earning herself the ticket to next year's Women's World Championship. WCM Noshin Anjum and WFM Tanima Parvin finished second and third respectively.