Having set their sights on the prestigious title, Bangladesh Police Chess Club is all set to make its debut in the Premier Division Chess League (PCL) beginning today at the National Sports Council (NSC) Tower Auditorium Lounge in Paltan.
Apart from debutants Police in top-flight chess, Bangladesh Biman, 15-time chess league champions, are also all set to return to the Premier Division League after seven years since pulling out of the league in 2013, citing a shortage of funds.
Bangladesh Police, who competed in Second Division Chess League this year, entered the PCL after Bangladesh Chess Federation president and RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed said Bangladesh Police should play in top-flight chess at a programme of the Second Division Chess League a few months ago. Bangladesh Police bought out Premier League side E-Soft Arena Chess Club and renamed it to ensure their participation in the top-flight.
The subcontinent’s first Grand Master (GM) Niaz Murshed has been given the responsibility to form the squad, which Niaz believed was worthy of challenging defending champions Saif Sporting Club, who have four local GMs as well as two foreign GMs.
“We flew in two Georgian Grand Masters [Jobava Baadur and Mchedlishvili Mikheil] while IM [International Master] Fahad Rahman, FM [FIDE Master] Abdul Malek and WIM [Women’s International Master] Rani Hamid and me are in the squad,” Niaz told The Daily Star yesterday.
“Saif SC are a bit ahead of us with six Grand Masters but we also have a chance to clinch the title. I think we can overcome the Saif SC’s hurdles, although we do not have the options to choose between GMs that Saif SC have,” said Niaz, who helped guide Mohammedan SC to the championship thrice (2011 to 2013) and Sheikh Russel Memorial SC (2015), Saif SC (2016) and Bengal Chess Club (2017) once each in the last eight years.
Mohammedan SC, Sheikh Russel MSC and Bengal Chess Club did not take part in the league once Niaz left the clubs but he said that those clubs did not continue because of their own problems and not because of his absence.
“Following their financial problems or restrictions on the clubs, they could not continue at in the top league. I was not the reason for their departures,” Niaz said. “I think Bangladesh Police is a good institution and they will continue in premier league chess in the future.”
Niaz however urged authorities concerned to allow each team only two GMs in a bid to make the league more competitive.
Bangladesh Chess Federation general secretary Syed Shahabuddin Shamim informed that the Bangladesh Biman chess team ensured their participation after replacing Gold Chess Sporting Club and that they have formed a mediocre side, featuring one Indian International Master and five local players.