IM Nubairshah Shaikh is the winner of 1st SAARC Chess Championship 2019
International Master Nubairshah Shaikh became the champion of 1st SAARC Chess Tournament 2019 that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from the 24th of November to the 4th of December 2019. He scored an impressive 7.5/9 and won the tournament by a margin of half a point. Nubair finished ahead of two strong GMs and returned home richer by US$ 3,500. Interestingly, the second place also went to an Indian. IM Prantik Roy scored 7.0/9 points and finished as the runner up of the event. In this pictorial report we bring you all the details and also a short interview with IM Nubair.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia aiming to promote economic development and regional integration. Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.The first edition of SAARC Open and Women Chess Championship was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from the 24th of November to the 4th of December this year. Organized by the Bangladesh State Chess Association under the aegis of FIDE, this was a nine-round Swiss event that invited a total of 87 players including two GMs and six IMs from seven different countries. The time control followed was 90 minutes for the first forty moves plus 30 minutes till the end of the game with 30 seconds increment per move from move one.
Benazir Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Chess Federation and Director General of RAB, inaugurated the event as chief guest while Berik Balgabaev, adviser of FIDE (World Chess Federation) president was present as special guest. The tournament was sponsored by Russian state corporation Rosatom and co-sponsored by Saif Powertec Limited, Rupayan Group and Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited.
IM Nubairshah Sheikh, who started as the third seed in the event, got off to a powerful start as he won his first four games quite emphatically against three Bangladeshi players and compatriot IM Prantik Roy. In the fifth round however his winning spree was halted by GM Enamul Hossain against whom he blundered to run into a mate in three from what looked like a very comfortable position.
Luckily, he recovered well and quickly after this defeat to register back to back wins. The 21-year-old Indian, finally after nine rounds, finished with a score of 7.5/9 and managed to pull ahead of his nearest rivals IM Prantik and Ziaur Rahman by half a point.
Standings after round nine (Open)
|1||3||IM||Mohammad Nubairshah Shaikh||IND||2421||7,5||2239||48,5||52,5||0,0||9||7,5||6,50||1,00||10||10,0|
|7||7||IM||Abu Sufian Shakil||BAN||2254||6,5||2115||44,0||48,5||0,0||8||5,5||5,56||-0,06||10||-0,6|
|8||8||IM||Mohammad Fahad Rahman||BAN||2247||6,5||2108||43,5||47,5||0,0||9||6,5||6,20||0,30||20||6,0|
|9||25||Zia Tahsin Tajwar||BAN||2080||6,5||2094||43,0||46,5||0,0||9||6,5||4,86||1,64||40||65,6|
|10||9||FM||Islam Khandaker Aminul||BAN||2229||6,0||2173||48,5||53,0||0,0||9||6||5,49||0,51||20||10,2|
ChessBase India caught up with Nubair for a brief conversation about his recent achievement in Bangladesh. In the following short interview the champion speaks about his experience of playing this event and also shares one of his favourite games with detailed annotations.
ChessBase India: How did you get to know about the SAARC event?
Nubairshah Shaikh: I received the tournament circular from many people via whatsApp and Facebook. But I took it seriously when GM Ziaur Rahman sent it to me and asked me to come and play in Bangladesh. So I would seriously like to thank him.
ChessBase India: How does it feel to win it?
Nubair: It feels really good. I mean, the last couple of tournaments I played in India I was leading so many times. Like 5/5 sometimes, even 6/6 but was ending up finishing third or getting tied for some place every time. Somehow luck wasn't on my side. So I was a little depressed but then my sir IM Sharad Tilak said after one of the events that I actually did well and the important thing was to keep playing well because luck would be changing all the time. I am glad that it changed finally for me. This time I lost one round in-between by making a one move blunder after leading the event and then I was half point behind the leaders but anyhow ended up winning by a half point lead and no tiebreaks! It also feels special as for the first time I won medals for India in Senior Category.
Enamul Hossain - Nubairshah Shaikh, Round 5
ChessBase India: How was the organization of the event?
Nubair: Organisation of the event was good and up to the International Standard, like an official FIDE event. I would like to congratulate the Organiser and the Bangladesh Chess Federation for making the first ever SAARC event happen.
ChessBase India: Which was your favourite game and why?
Nubair: Actually there are two favourite games. One against IM Prantik Roy in Round 4 and then against IM Mahmood Lodhi in Round 7. Both the games were crucial & helped me to get the lead in the tournament and I am glad that I won them convincingly.
ChessBase India: Now that you are an engineer, what do you plan further? To pursue chess or to study more?
Nubair: It's not at all an easy question. I want to play more chess, so for now I have taken a break from studies and will be playing more events in the upcoming months.