On January 16, Marks Active School Chess Championship, a school-based team chess competition came to a conclusion at International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka came to a close. A five-month long contest that started back in August reached its end with the final match between the teams from St Joseph Higher Secondary School and Uttara DPS. Ultimately, the crown belonged to the Josephites.
The final lived up to the expectations. In the exciting final of four and a half hours, there was a close fight on all four boards. First, the two teams drew 2-2 game points. Each school then played 10 minutes and five seconds of rapid chess in a tiebreaker.
Apart from the trophy, the champion of the tournament received Tk 1.0 million (10 lakh). The runner-up school received Tk 0.5 million (Tk 5 lakh). Six chess players played in each team of the competition. The champion teams of the 53 districts in the preliminary stage had direct access to the divisional stage. The remaining 11 districts were divided into 17 regions. These 17 regions played in home and away format. 17 champion teams playing in home and away system got the chance to the divisional stage. Altogether 70 schools played at the divisional level. From there, the final phase took place in Dhaka with the best 16 schools from all eight divisions. After coming to Dhaka, 16 schools were divided into four groups. In the final stage, the group games were played in a round robin league format where each team had to face each other once. The champion and runner-up teams of each group advanced to the quarter-finals. Then the semi-final and final took place.
Tahsin Tajwar, son of the grandmaster Ziaur Rahman, Ahnaf Rashid Chowdhury, Naushan Uddin and Abrar Jahin participated in the final for St Joseph Higher Secondary School. On the other hand, Chess of Uttara DPS School had Aiman Ahmed, Marjuk Chowdhury, Mohammad Farzan Ali and Kazi Afsan Rawnak Annan on their team.
A large-scale chess competition with school students possibly was not organised in Bangladesh before. The tournament received a lot of responses. International Master Abu Sufian Shakil, chief coordinator of the tournament, said, "This tournament has exceeded my expectations. At first, I thought that I might not get chess from schools outside Dhaka. While doing the tournament, I saw that many schools have formed teams. We were surprised to see this. In fact, this is what we wanted."
Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman sees this tournament as a revolution in chess, "The most positive aspect of this tournament is that many chess players will participate in the school tournament. For the past month, the children of St Joseph's and DPS schools have been learning the game with interest from me. Through this competition, we hope that many chess players will emerge in the future."