India’s IM Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh emerged as the champion in the open section of the inaugural SAARC Chess Championships after securing 7.5 points at the close of the ninth and final round in Dhaka yesterday.
Shaikh’s compatriot IM Prantik Roy finished second with seven points while GM Ziaur Rahman and CM Subrota Biswas became third and fourth with seven points each. Positions were decided through tiebreakers. GM Enamul Hossain Razib finished fifth with 6.5 points.
In women’s section, WIM Sultana Sharmin Shirin clinched the title with 7.5 points while Sri Lanka’s Dahampriya HKT Dewnethmie finished second with seven points. WIM Rani Hamid, WFM Nazrana Khan Eva and WCM Sharmin Samiha Shimmi finished third, fourth and fifth respectively after all of three secured six points each.
Bangladesh’s second GM, Ziaur Rahman, believes the introduction of SAARC Chess Championships will help promising players, who played well in the inaugural meet, but added that such tournaments should be held each year. He also asked for at least 20 title-holders to be present.
However, GM Razib had a different view, saying he believes the event was very competitive despite there being less title-holders.
In the afternoon, Bangladesh Chess Federation and SAARC Chess Council president and RAB DG Benazir Ahmed urged sponsors to come forward and take chess further.
“Cricket is now a successful discipline. Football is also a popular sport. Now we want to make chess more popular,” Ahmed told reporters at a press conference at the RAB headquarter, adding that they could produce a GM within the next two years if there were sponsors.