18 year-old Mohammad Fahad Rahman is the youngest chess player in Bangladesh to earn the lifelong titles of International Master (2019) and FIDE Master (2013). The self-taught genius relies mainly on books to practice and perfect his moves across the chessboard. He is an SSC candidate from Little Jewels International School.
Fahad was only five years old when he first got to know about chess, and instantly fell in love with the game. "I was fascinated by everything in chess, and began learning the rules. After two months of practicing, I won a competition organised by my school," he shares.
What began as a fun hobby soon cultivated into a serious pursuit for Fahad, who went on to participated in a tournament organised by Bangladesh Shishu Academy in 2008, qualifying amongst participants across 8 divisions. Just after two years, he became an age group champion for the National School Chess Tournament, organised by the Bangladesh Chess Federation. Soon after, he joined the national team.
"By 2011, we moved to Dhaka from Faridpur, as the federation was nearby. I began preparing for more competitive tournaments," says Fahad, who participated in and won the National Sub -Junior and National Junior titles from 2014 to 2017, and 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively. His streak of brilliant performances in the nationals opened the doors to many international championships for him.
He played in the Asia Championship held in India, clinching a gold medal under both Standard and Blitz categories, and one bronze medal in the Rapid Chess category. He also participated in 14th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament and ASEAN Age-Group (U-10) Chess Championship of Thailand. "I also participated in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad held in Georgia in 2018, which helped me earn an international rating to become an International Master," adds Fahad. The same year, he won the Asian Zonal Championship which led him to FIDE World Cup 2019, held in Russia.
"I got the chance to play alongside my idols, some of the best chess players in the world. I enjoyed their performances, witnessing their moves and learning about their strategies," Fahad says about his experience in the world cup.
The pandemic made it quite challenging for him to participate in many important international tournaments that would have assisted him in becoming a Grandmaster, the highest title a chess player can attain, apart from World Champion. Yet, Fahad has not remained idle. "I have played opposite the leading Grandmasters in our country. No matter what, I have always put up a strong fight. I aspire to keep working hard to become the youngest Grandmaster in Bangladesh," he concludes.
The author is a student of Political Science, and a freelance journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.