GM Ziaur Rahman Suffers Stroke, Dies During Bangladesh Championship


Fifteen-time Bangladesh Chess Champion GM Ziaur Rahman has passed away today after suffering a stroke during his 12th-round game at the national chess championship, the Bangladesh Chess Federation has confirmed.

The 50-year-old had a close-to-winning position against fellow GM Enamul Hossain in the Bangladesh Chess Championship in the capital Dhaka today, when the game was interrupted on move 25.

Local media reported that Rahman fell to the ground, and images circulating on social media show people trying to help him up. He was rushed to hospital, but eventually declared dead at around 7 p.m. local time, according to local media.

“Players and officials present in the hall room took him to the hospital quickly after he collapsed. Upon reaching there, doctors said he had already died,” Bangladesh Chess Federation General Secretary Shahab Uddin Shamim told AFP.

Rahman was on an undefeated 8/11 behind FM Reja Neer Manon in the event, with an excellent chance to take his 16th title. At the time of writing, the result of the game against Hossain has not been updated.

β€œIt was my move. So, when he was falling down, I thought he was leaning down to pick up a water bottle. But then he collapsed, and we rushed him to the hospital. His son was playing at the next table,” Hossain told AFP, adding that it took them a few seconds to realise that Rahman had suffered a massive stroke.

Rahman is Bangladesh’s most decorated chess player and earned his IM title in 1993 and his GM title in 2002. He competed 17 times for Bangladesh in the Chess Olympiad (once online), drawing a 2786-rated GM Magnus Carlsen with White in 2008.

His peak rating is 2570 from October 2005. Rahman has also won numerous open tournaments in Asia over the years.

In a message of condolence, Bangladesh’s President Mohammed Shahabuddin expressed “profound shock and sorrow,” terming the death of Rahman “an irreparable loss to sports.” He said Rahman’s contribution to the development of chess in the nation will be remembered forever.

The chess community is mourning his passing. Indian GM Surya Shekar Ganguly called Rahman “an amazing human being”.

Condolences also came from FIDE CEO GM Emil Sutovsky.

Rahman leaves behind his wife, and his son FM Tahsin Tajwar Zia, who was also playing in the national championship in Dhaka. In 2022, the duo made history by becoming the first-ever father and son to compete on the same team in a Chess Olympiad.


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