Breaking The Social Taboos. 2nd Sheheryar Open Chess Tournament, Lahore.

In Pakistan women have been facing a lot of prejudices and social taboos , especially when they come out to take part in sports activities along with their male counterparts. Same is true in Chess where women Chess players choose only to take part in Chess events exclusively for females. The number of women players in Open category tournaments have always been minimal in the past. But things are changing now. Pakistan Chess Federation has initiated special programs for progress in women Chess, including increasing number of women chess events, provision of comfortable and better playing conditions for women Chess players and organizing chess activities in major universities of the country.

On 9th March, Chess Association of Punjab, the biggest member of Pakistan Chess Federation organized 2nd Sheheryar Open Chess Tournament in Lahore. A large number of women players opted to take part in Open category which was very encouraging for the Federation officials. The tournament was a 7-round swiss league event with a time control of 25 minutes and 10 seconds per move. 56 players including 12 women participated including the 2014 open and women Chess champions of the province of Punjab.

Hamid Hassan won the tournament with 6 points while Khalid Ashraf was 2nd, also with 6 points. Sadeem Lodhi from Multan squeezed into the 3rd position with 5.5 points. Although there was no separate category for women players, young Mehak Gul, Arooj Saeed and Iqra Zulfiqar were given special prizes judged by the overall performance. Total prize fund for the tournament was 25000 PKR.


Arooj Saeed contemplating a move in round 5. Apart from her work in World Wildlife Fund , she gives her time to work for the promotion of Chess in Pakistani Women.

Ghanira Shafiq, woman Chess player from Pakistan Railways.

Gul-e-Jannat won her game with black pieces against Sidra in 4th round of the tournament.

In 6th round Sidra and Faisal Kamal drew their game reaching a sterile position after 64 moves.

Iqra totalled 4.5 points and received a special prize at the closing ceremony

Iqra Zulfiqar from the remote district of Jhang in 1st round of the tournament

Khalid with white playing against Hamid Hassan in last round. The draw enabled Hassan to win the tournament on tie break.

Mehak Gul- She eventually won 1st prize in Women category

One of the top seeded women player Beenish did not get well after two early losses.

Sidra Ali in deep thought during her game in round 2

Young Mehak Gul was the top scorer of all women participants in the tournament.

by Dr. Naeem Hamid Mirza, General Secretary, Chess Federation of Pakistan.
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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