KATHMANDU, March 27: Bangladeshi GM Mollah Abdullah Al Rakib on Sunday inched closer to the title of the Asian Zonal 3.2 Open Chess Championship 2017 being held in Kathmandu.
Mollah overcame Nepal’s CM Keshav Shrestha rated 2077 in the eighth and penultimate round, to take sole lead with seven points. A draw in the last round to be played on Monday will be sufficient for the Bangladeshi GM rated 2492 to win the title.
Bangladesh GM Ziaur Rahman rated 2520 edged past his countryman Abu Sufian Shakil rated 2343 to remain half point shy of the leader. Ziahur has collected 6.5 points while Abu has 4.5 points. Defending champion Ziahur still has slim chances of winning the title on condition that he wins his board and leader Mollah loses the final board.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s Himal Lama and Bhagwati Prasad Sharma and Sri Lankan Kalugampitiya R S confirmed CM titles. Himal rated 2081 shared points with national champion Madan Krishna Kayastha rated 2099 to earn 4.5 points and confirm CM title. Bhagwati rated 1848 overcame Maldivian Ahmed Aman Ibrahim to earn 4.5 points and get the title. Similarly, Kalugampitiya rated 2129 overcame Sumit Panta rated 1935. He collected five points at the penultimate round and achieved the CM title.
In other boards, Bangladesh GM Niaz Murshed rated 2422 overcame FM Syed Rahman Mahfuzur rated 2250 to come third in the standings with six points. Similarly another Bangladeshi GM Enamul Hossain rated 2474 saw off former national champion of home country Badri Lal Nepali to earn five points.
Similarly, Keshav Shrestha, Bangladeshi duo Enamul and Hasan Mehdi and Sri Lankan Kalugampitiya have equal five points each.
In the women’s section, overnight leader WIM Rani Hamid’s winning streak came to an end after she was defeated by her country’s WFM Sultana Sharmin Shirin. Rani along with WIM of the same country, Shamima Akhtar, who overcame Punam Prasai of Nepal have equal seven points on their kitty.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Saumya Zainab and Bangladesh WFM Nazrana Khan have earned equal five points each. Saumy played draw with her Bangladeshis counterpart Sharmin Samiha while Nazrana overcame fellow Bangladeshi WCM Hahmudha Hoque Chowdhaury.
Nepal’s Shanta Thapa and Sabina Shrestha have equal four points each after they registered wins over Kusi Matina and Sindira Joshi of their own country in the penultimate round.