International Chess Federation
Sunday, 04 Feb 2024 16:29
FIDE delegation meets with Pakistan's President and PM


Pakistan's government makes a strong push towards promoting chess, starting with 10,000 schools

The delegation of FIDE, headed by President Arkady Dvorkovich, met with the President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, and Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Friday in Islamabad for the launch of Pakistan's National Mind Sports Initiative.

Promoted by the government, the initiative aims to introduce chess and other activities in schools and to the public, fostering the development of mind sports in the country.

During the meeting in Islamabad, FIDE officials and representatives of Pakistan's chess federation discussed strategies to increase the popularity of chess in Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan's top player, Mohamed Zohaib Hassan, has a rating of 2269.

Recognizing the mental and educational benefits of chess and its positive impact on intellectual development, the government of Pakistan introduces chess into its educational system.

Following the meeting, it was announced that Pakistan, with 236 million residents, will promote chess in the country, particularly at the grassroots level, through programs aimed at schools. FIDE, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, and other Pakistani state officials discussed how this could be done, with a focus on the primary school level, modeling on FIDE's successful project "Chess in schools," implemented in many countries worldwide. As part of the mind games project, chess is to be introduced in 10,000 public schools across Pakistan, starting with 100 schools in Islamabad, the country's capital.

"Some 6,000,000 children in 10,000 schools in Pakistan will have the chance to get access to this game," said Arkady Dvorkovich. He promised FIDE's support in coaching teachers for the chess in schools initiative.

FIDE's Development Director Nigel Short and Secretary of FIDE's Chess in Education Commission Rita Atkins continue to tour Pakistan with chess in schools lectures, simultaneous game exhibitions, and meetings with prison authorities in promotion of the Chess for Freedom project.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said he was happy that he made a commitment to this special cause, and he will also continue to support and promote this cause in the future. He added that every school in the country should have access to this game.

Apart from Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE's delegation included Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al-Nehayan (President of the Asian Chess Federation), Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Deputy Chair of FIDE's Management Board), GM Nigel Short (FIDE's Development Director), Hisham Al Taher, Secretary-General of the Asian Chess Federation, as well as Jauhar Saleem, Chief Patron of the Chess Federation of Pakistan.

Late Mian Sultan Khan given Grandmaster Title

Photo by unknown cameraman, 1932

The federal minister for inter-provincial cooperation, Fawad Hassan Fawad, noted the legacy of Mian Sultan Khan (1903–1966), a native chess player from Sargodha in northeast Pakistan, who won the British Chess Championship in 1929, 1932, and 1933.

Arkady Dvorkovich presented Pakistan's officials with the document awarding the title of Honorary Grandmaster to Mian Sultan Khan. A Punjabi chess player, and a citizen of Pakistan is thought to have been the strongest chess master of his time from Asia. Mian Sultan Khan, who beat some of the world's top players despite growing up with little access to chess books and knowing next to nothing about the theory of chess, became the first Pakistani grandmaster.