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Bangladesh's next hope: Fahad Rahman becomes the youngest IM of his country

by Shahid Ahmed - 23/04/2019

Mohammad Fahad Rahman became Bangladesh's youngest IM at the age of 16 years by winning Asian Zonal 3.2 last month. Despite losing to Bangladesh's no.1 GM Ziaur Rahman in round 3, Fahad made a strong comeback and finished at 7.0/9 along with GM Reefat Bin Sattar. Due to a better tie-break score, Fahad clinched the championship and earned the IM title. He won National Sub-Junior and National Junior title four times each from 2014-2017 and 2014, 2016- 2018 respectively. He has also won Gold medal in Western Asia Youth under-14 Blitz in 2014 and Asian Schools under-9 open in both Standard and Blitz in 2012. In this article we will see his road to becoming an IM, an interview with him and of course few annotated games by Bangladesh's man of the hour. Photo: Fahad Rahman

Fahad finally earns the coveted IM title

Mohammad Fahad Rahman receives the Asian Zonal 3.2 Championship Trophy and Certificate | Photo: Fahad Rahman

Battle of the Rahmans

In the last encounter with Bangladesh's no.1 GM Ziaur Rahman, Fahad was victorious in Chittagong Open 2018.

However, Fahad didn't make the perfect start in Asian Zonal 3.2 as he lost against the legendary GM of Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman in round 3 after winning the first two round.

This is the critical juncture where Fahad made a mistake and it cost him the game. Black just played 45...f4. Find out the best continuation for White to save the game

Here is the game annotated by Fahad himself:

Fahad's last stand

Fahad's performance at Asian Zonal 3.2 in 2019

Winning the last round meant, Fahad had maximum chances of winning the tournament and thus become Bangladesh's youngest IM in history.

Most of the 15-year old kids would fret playing 19...Kd8 and abandon hopes of winning the game, let alone win the tournament, but Fahad is not most of the kids of his age

Fahad rebuilds his position and reinforces all his pieces for an attack, his opponent fortunately for him crumbles

Fahad has managed to thwart opponent's all counter play and it's just a matter of technique for Black to win the full point

Here is the complete final round game, annotated by Fahad himself:

An interview was conducted by the author of this article with the winner of Asian Zonal 3.2

Shahid Ahmed (SA): Congratulations Fahad for winning Asian Zonal 3.2 and becoming Bangladesh's youngest IM. How does it feel to win it?

World Cup is something that has alluded GM Ziaur Rahman | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Fahad Rahman (FR): It is really a great achievement. As one Grandmaster of my country who never got a chance to play World Cup in his whole career, I would like to say I am more than happy that I got the chance to play World Cup more than IM title.


SA: What was going through your mind after losing to Bangladesh's legend Ziaur Rahman in the third round?

Fahad's focus is on the quality of the game | Photo: Prashant Mullick

FR: Well, I do not care about tournament or championship. I enjoy chess and over the board, I try to find the best move. The game I lost against GM Ziaur Rahman was fully equal but somehow I lost concentration at the last moment of the game and he played very well and managed to win over me. Then I tried to comeback and tried to forget about the lost game.


SA: Now that you have become Bangladesh's youngest IM, do you ever think that there is a possibility for you to become your country's youngest GM?

Fahad is a four-time consecutive National sub-junior (under-16) and four-time National junior (under-20) Champion | Photo: ChessBase India archives

FR: As I was youngest FM in Bangladesh and now youngest IM! Well, it would be great to hear youngest GM of Bangladesh! and so far I have still 5 years to do that. I will try as soon as I can!


SA: Which game was the toughest in the tournament?

The game that Fahad needed to win to become the champion and earn IM title | Photo: Fahad Rahman

FR: I will say the last game, which was the most important game to win the title. I really play bad when I feel tensed. I feel very normal to play against GMs.


SA: Whom will you thank for your success?

Fahad's parents. His father always accompanies him to various tournaments and he lovingly calls his son 'King Fahad' | Photo: Fahad's father Sheikh Mohammad Nazrul Islam's facebook

FR: Of course my family and especially my father. He always supports me in everything.


SA: Who is your coach?

Indian prodigy Nihal vs. Bangladesh prodigy Fahad in Kolkata 2018 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

FR: I have no coach. Honestly I never had one in my chess career. I learn everything by on my own. That is why it took a lot of time for me. When I got chance to play in 43rd Chess Olympiad 2018, Bangladesh Chess Federation brought Igor Rausis for only 3 months before the Olympiad. I would like to thank Igor Rausis who taught me how to beat GMs and also for teaching me how to beat GMs when they offer draw in an equal position. he also inspired me to become CJKS GM tournament Champion and also helped me to play very well in Olympiad where I scored 7.0/11 and scored my 1st IM norm.


SA: What are you doing currently in terms of academics?

FR: I study in ninth grade in Little Jewels International School.


SA: How much support do you get from family, friends and school?

FR: Huge! My family supports me a lot.


SA: What's next for you?

Fahad and his father | Photo: ChessBase India archives

FR: Of course GM and to go 2nd round in World Cup. I have never played in Europe tournaments as they are very important for GM norms. If someone can help me to play Europe tournaments it would be great.

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