LAHORE - Defending champion and internationally-renowned chess player Mahmood Lodhi added another feather in his crown when he won 29th National Chess Championship 2014 which concluded in SISSA Hall on Wednesday.
Lodhi just needed a draw on the last day to win the country’s premier chess tournament for a record 14th time. His game was tied with Anwar Qureshi who is also an international-titled player from Hyderabad. Lodhi achieved the draw easily just after 23 moves. During last two days of the championship, thrilling matches were witnessed between players vying to book a place in top slots especially the players from Punjab and Sindh were pitted to overcome each other as this was also a selection tournament for participation in the World Chess Olympiads.
Young player Syed Ahmad Ali has shown brilliant form in the whole tournament and emerged as the new star of Pakistan chess while another player who impressed all with his performance was M Bin Nasir who is only 12 years old. The young prodigy from Gujranwala opted to participate instead of being confined to the junior section and beat many senior rivals to finish in upper half of points table. He accumulated six points out of 11 and ended up in upper half of players. Two women chess players, including Punjab women chess champion, Nameeqa Aslam also opted to play in the championship instead of playing in women championship.
Chess Federation of Pakistan (CFP) secretary Dr Naeem Hamid Mirza in his closing speech praised the performance of young players especially of Bin Nasir expressing high hopes from the youth in future. He assured full cooperation and training facilities for promising new players on behalf of the Chess Federation of Pakistan. He also announced that World Chess Federation (WCF) is going to launch ‘chess in schools project’ in Pakistan from September 2014 which will give a big boost to Pakistan chess. The players, who were selected to represent Pakistan team to participate in the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway in August 2014, are Mahmood Ahmad Lodhi, Syed Ahmad Ali, Shahzad Mirza, M Younis and Mudassar Iqbal.
Dr Naeem also stated that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) should extend its full support to national federation to ensure maximum representation in International events and urged the Prime Minister Mian M Nawaz Sharif to take notice of the PSB’s lethargic attitude. At the end, the CFP President along with Senior Vice President Abdul Aziz Khan distributed trophies and shields among the top performers.