Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, all kinds of sports had been on hold in Bangladesh for a long time. Gradually the outdoor sports have started to return. The indoor games are not behind either. The South Asian Chess Council, on the occasion of the 74th birthday Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, are going to host an online chess competition called 'Joytu Sheikh Hasina Online Chess Tournament'.
The tournament is going to be hosted by the South Asian Chess Council in association with Golden Sporting club. The tournament is sponsored by Canadian University of Bangladesh and it will begin on September 24, as informed in a press meet today.
All the matches of the tournament will be played online. 74 chess players from 15 countries will participate in a three-day tournament. 49 of the players participating in the tournament are from Bangladesh. But Niyaz Morshed, the first grandmaster from Bangladesh and another grandmaster Abdullah Al Rakib are not going to be part of the tournament. Morshed is not participating in it citing illness while Rakib is unwilling to play online.
Three rounds will be played on each day of the tournament and the matches will be played from 2 pm to 5 pm. The total prize money of the tournament is 6000 US Dollars. The champion of the tournament will be awarded 1200 US Dollars while the players coming second and third will get 800 and 500 US Dollars respectively. The Bangladeshi player with highest position will get 700 US Dollars and the next two ranked players will get 500 and 300 US Dollars.
After the press meet, general secretary of the Bangladesh Chess Federation Syed Shahab Uddin Shamim said, "Initially we wanted to arrange the tournament with only South Asian players. But the president of the council and IG of police Benazir Ahmed wanted to include more number of grandmasters. That's why we have invited players from outside South Asia."
"We are trying to bring a surprise element in the form of India's Viswanathan Anand, five times world champion. We have contacted him. We will request the president of the federation to bring him. As the tournament is online, we will try our best to have him and I hope he'll join. We are trying to bring Russia's Garry Kasparov as well," added Shamim.
Shamim hopes that this tournament will do a whole lot of good to chess in Bangladesh.
The prize giving ceremony of the tournament will be held on September 27. Zahid Ahsan Russell, the minister of Youth and Sports ministry, will be the chief guest and the programme will be presided over by South Asian Chess Council president Benazir Ahmed.