Chess is well known as the game of intelligence. However, it was invented by the Indians but was not limited to India. People from all over the world have become experts in chess, and some of the countries produced numerous world-class chess players. There are even various national and international events related to chess. Over the years, many Bangladeshi players have participated in different chess events and bring out success for the country. We will discuss the best Bangladeshi chess players of all time. While making the list, we have considered the achievements of the players.
Legendary Chess Players in the history of Bangladesh
When we talk about the Chess players of Bangladesh, Grandmaster Niaz Murshed's name comes first. He was honored with the 'Independence Day Award' by the government of Bangladesh in 1989 for his outstanding achievements in the field of sports. In 1987, Niaz Morshed was awarded Grandmaster at the age of just 21 and became the first Grandmaster in Bangladesh and South Asia as well.
Besides, with that award, Murshed became the 5th Grandmaster of Asia. Niaz Morshed participated in the 'National Chess' competition when he was only nine years old. And at the age of only 12, he became well known as one of the top chess players in Bangladesh. Niaz Morshed was the national champion for four consecutive years from 1989 to 1982.
Ziaur is the second Bangladeshi player to win the Grandmaster. Besides, he also won the International Master (IM) title in 1993. Forty-seven years old Grandmaster still plays at the national and international level. He won the Bangladesh championship 14 times. Rahman also appeared in the Chess World Cup in 2007 but got beaten in the first round by Russian Super GM Jakovenko.
After that, he qualified for the world cup in 2011, 2013, and 2015, but he could not cross the first round on any of these tournaments. Ziaur Rahman also represented Bangladesh at the Olympiad 13 times from 1986 to 2014. Among all the international events, winning the Nagpur International Open in 2012 is one of his notable achievements.
Reefat Bin Sattar
Bangladeshi chess player Reefat Bin Sattar won the Grandmaster title. He is the third Grandmaster of chess in Bangladesh. Rifat received the International Master title in 1993. However, he won the International Grandmaster title in 2008 when his FIDE rating exceeded 2,500. All three norms he achieved in the chess competition held in Dhaka. Further, Sattar has competed in seven Chess Olympiads from 1994 to 2006 and proudly represented Bangladesh. He also achieved a good reputation at the national level. Reefat won the national championship six times.
Mollah Abdullah Al-Rakib
Abdullah Al-Rakib is the fourth Grandmaster of Bangladesh. He won the achievement in 2007. Rakib won his first Grandmaster Norm at the 2nd Asian Chess Championship in Kolkata in 2001, the second at the Leonine Chess Club Grandmaster Chess Tournament in 2004, and the third at the National Chess Championship in Dhaka in April 2006.
However, he was supposed to obtain the Grandmaster in April 2007, but a few misunderstandings from the International Chess Federation delayed him. Rakib won the national title two times and became runner up three times in 2003, 2004, and 2006. Furthermore, he attended Chess Olympiads seven times to represent the country.
Enamul Hossain Rajib is one of the best chess players in Bangladesh, who won the Bangladesh Chess Championship in 1996 and 2008. Enamul achieved the first norm of his first Grand Master in 2002 after winning the International Master title at the Chess Olympiad held in Slovenia in 2002.
After that, he won the 2nd norm in the Grand Master competition held in Abu Dhabi. He defeated Russian player Pavel Elzanov to win the second norm. On May 4, 2008, Enamul Hossain Rajib received his 3rd and final GM norm. Afterward, he became the fifth Grandmaster of Bangladesh.
Rani Hamid was one of the best women chess players in Bangladesh. She won the International Women's Master award in 1975. Rani was the first female international chess master of Bangladesh. Besides, she won the British women's chess championship three times in 1983, 1985, and 1989. Moreover, she also won the gold medal in Commonwealth Chess Championship-2015.
Rani Hamid started playing chess professionally after her marriage as she got inspiration from her husband. She won the National Women's Chess Championship six times from 1979 to 1984. Till 2008, Rani has won the National Women's Chess Championship a total of 15 times. She also represented Bangladesh many times in the Chess Olympiad.
Shamima Akter Liza
Liza is the current sensation of a women's chess competition in Bangladesh. She won the Bangladesh Women's Chess Championship in 2005, 2010, and 2014. However, she also became the first Bangladeshi women's chess player to participate in the World Women's Chess Championship in 2015.
She qualified for the world championship after winning the 2014 national title. After that, in February 2017, Liza participated in the World Women's Chess Championship held in Tehran, Iran, but lost in the first round against India's Grandmaster Harika Dronavali.
Sharmin Sultana Shirin
Woman International Master (WIM) winner Sharmin Sultana Shirin is on the rise. She is a female FIDE Master and won the Bangladesh Women's Chess Championship twice. She won the National Women's Chess Championship for the first time in 2009 and later became the undefeated champion at the 33rd National Women's Chess Championship in 2013 for Titas Club. So far, she has played 67 games at the national and international level, and the overall winning percentage is 53%.
In this era of cricket and football, no one gives proper concentration in chess. Therefore, the country couldn't produce any Grandmaster after 2008. Only India and Bangladesh have grandmasters in this subcontinent. Over the years, the craze for chess is declining, which raises the question, how long can Bangladesh keep this place of pride?