Volume 2 Issue 32 | March 26, 2008 |


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Guru Griho

From Bogra

Nahar Chess Academy: a New Dimension to Bogra

Time moves forward at its own pace. Sometimes civilization requires things to go a little faster. And so these days you will find chess clubs not just in the capital but also in unlikely places like Bogra. This club is the sole initiative of Nazmul Hasan Rumi from Narayanganj.

The kids of Bogra love Rumi Bhai. The 29 year old Rumi is a seasoned veteran in chess. He learnt this sport from his uncle as a youngster by combining his interests in science and mathematics. He was fascinated by how individual chess pieces moved differently. He was fascinated by how relatively insignificant pieces ended up playing a major part in the game. “Checkmate!” someone would say triumphantly. Afifa, a member of the chess club would have a smile on her face. Apola and Panna in the next table would share Afifa's enthusiasm. Their enthusiasm is no less than that of veterans like Rani Hamid or Niaz Morshed. Their scope maybe small however they do what they can with it.

Anyone would be a little surprised to see these “chess parties” here in Bogra. In this district chess had normally been confined to living rooms in households. There was no chance to compete on a bigger level or even go out and meet other players. Usually the games start in the evening and go on till the late hours of the night. Most of the chess players on Temple Road, located not far from Shatmatha, are low-earning people. Here you will find all kinds of people starting from rickshaw pullers to shop-workers. These people love pitting their brains again one another for the sake of entertainment. On one side of Temple Road there is a room full of chessboards where you will find mostly middle-income people. These people are businessmen or have decent jobs. However these 64 blocks on the chess board are the great equalizers; everybody here is fully focused on the game.

This breakdown of the classes is what interested Rumi in setting up this chess academy. He started looking for a room to rent. He set out to find all the chess players in the region and invite them to his club. Finally the Nritto Chondom Music Academy located on Sherpur Road lent out a helping hand. Here he started arranging small scale chess tournaments. Shahadat Alam Jhunu, a young teacher, helped out with the proceedings of these contests.

Rumi has always been pretty tenacious about keeping this club up and running. Rumi who works at a foreign bank, goes out to find out chess players after work every evening. He finds them too. He keeps his organization active. In November of 2007, he finally started up the Nahar Chess Academy, named after his mother. After Rumi finished his Masters in Accounting and his MBA he was inspired by players like Liza, Shirin, Evana and other chess players. In 2005 Liza beat Rani Hamid and became the National Women's Chess Champion. Shirin and Evana also won medals.

These days about 50 players of all ages and various professions frequent the Nahar Chess Academy. The competitions go on, not during working hours of the day though. These games are mostly held in the evening. There have been no formal chess competitions in Bogra till now. And nighttime contests at that. In fact there have been no nighttime contests anywhere in the northern districts of the country. These days Rumi is attracting more professionals; doctors, teachers, bureaucrats, businessmen and office workers flock to his chess club. There is an atmosphere of great enthusiasm in the club.

A lot of people are interested in watching chess matches. Golam Hossain is one such spectator. He wants to get his name down as a future contestant. He has been a chess hobbyist since 1977 but so far has not had the chance to compete. Rumi claims this “scientific” sport will help children in expanding their mental capacity. Rumi dreams of the day when more and more people are attracted to the sport and the players from the Nahar Chess Academy become known far and wide.


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