Chess sensation Hamal eyes IM

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s first FIDE Master (FM) Manish Hamal is on the top of the world after earning the title from World Chess Federation this January.

At a time when chess was considered merely a sport to while away time, Hamal’s title has provided a new impetus to the game. His achievement has motivated and inspired many kids to follow in his footsteps. But for the player himself there is more to achieve — to earn the International Master (IM) title.

“Ever since I received the FM title, I started to believe I could make career out

of it,” said the 2086-rated Hamal. “Eight international experiences in my tack, I am craving for more. I look forward to get the IM title,” added Hamal, who knows the task isn’t easy though. Given the proper guidance, he believes he can achieve that goal. “We need proper training in and out of the country. We also need the government assistance in this regard.”

He also felt a new enthusiasm for the sport after he was granted the international recognition. “Players hardly bothered on the ratings before but no sooner had I got the title, their perception of the game changed and were eager to earn better ratings.”

“An FM enjoys great privilege in other countries but there is nothing as such in Nepal,” lamented Hamal.

Hamal also urges Nepali parents to motivate their kids. “The reason why the Indian players rule the world of chess is because of their parents’ motivation,” said Hamal. He earned the FM title following his performance in the 38th Chess Olympiad held at Dresden, Germany during November 12-25 last year where he claimed 6.5 points out of 10 on offer. He was fortunate enough to get the recognition as his rating was well below the 2300 mark required by a player to earn the title. His rating then was 2089.

Hamal, who began playing the game since the tender age of nine, says he cannot alienate himself from chess. Such is the passion of the game that Hamal says he spends more than 10 hours daily playing chess. Apart from his passion, the man from Manamaiju is also a a good singer. He has performed his talent in various cultural programmes and has drawn huge appreciation.

The talented player also worked in the medical field for more than six years earning a modest amounts for living. But, his addiction to hover around the 64 boxes provided him with no other options but to pursue the game.