Trouble on the horizon for chess players | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 03, 2020

Trouble on the horizon for chess players

"Working from home" has suddenly became a buzzword for the professionals the world over following the outbreak of coronavirus, but for professional athletes that hardly holds meaning as all they can do is some light practice to stay fit.

However, chess players are having a different experience because they can practice indoors and in isolation just as easily, but there are financial drawbacks.

Grand Master Ziaur Rahman, who is considered the country's lone professional chess player, talked about the advantage of practicing indoors as a chess player and the challenges ahead of him while he was speaking to The Daily Star.

"Having no tournaments due to coronavirus is a problem for us because players like me, who earn their bread and butter through chess, came this far through hard work. Now I have no options left but to spend the money I deposited for the future of my family," the 45-year-old Zia said.

"I will be able to bear my expenditure from the deposited money for one year because I need less money to run my three-member family in our own apartment. I am lucky that my son is a good one who is also playing chess and earning money from different tournaments. If the situation doesn't improve, then I will definitely face problems," he continued.

"I know some chess players who hardly take part international tournaments. Instead, they earn their bread and butter playing different tournaments at home. And they are definitely going to face a tough time in future. The arbiter of the chess tournaments is also going to face the same problem," he said.

Zia however has been enjoying time with his son Tahsin Tajwar Zia and wife.

"I have been practising with my son, giving time to the family by helping my wife a lending hand in doing household chores. Sometimes, I am even cook. Sometime I'm helping my Indian students through online sessions and taking part in courtesy tournaments online," Zia informed.

Zia was very conscious about the need to stay home since the emergence of coronavirus in Bangladesh. He said he would take time and would be cautious before taking part in any international tournaments.

"I forgot from when I have been in quarantine at home [laughs]. Maybe from March 10. I did not even allow my son to take part in any tournaments, including the national youth championship where I think he could have won the title," he said.

Zia also wants chess players to utilise the time at home saying that chess players can practice at home and online. A player can even analyse his game and pen down which system they want to use. Zia also requested everyone to stay at home and stay positive in the fight against coronavirus.

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