KARACHI: Pakistan’s star Mahmood Lodhi on Monday expressed delight over his consistent performance at the third Al-Ain International Open Chess Tournament that ended in the UAE last Saturday.

“This was [my] most consistent performance in any international event against some top Grand Masters of the International Chess Federation,” Lodhi said on his return from the UAE.

Lodhi held Russian GM Volkov Sergey with FIDE rating 2599 to draw to end with 6.0 points, as Lodhi played at a performance rating of 2393.

“By virtue of my consistent show I improved my ranking by 65 points from 2328 to 2392 points,” he underlined.

According to officials results, Lodhi claimed third tier with 6.0 points with top GMs at 7.0 and next GMs at 6.50.

During the course of nine-round competition Lodhi played five GMs and won two, draw two and lost one game.

This was the best-ever achievement by any Pakistan chess player at the international level.

Over 150 chess masters including 20 Grand Masters and over 30 IMs featured in $34,000 prize money.

Lodhi said if proper financial support is given by national sports authorities he was capable of achieving Grand Master’s title.

However, he said chess is a neglected sport in Pakistan, lamenting chess players hardly find any sponsorship to travel abroad for international events.

Lodhi said he was only able to feature in the Al-Ain Open as the UAE Chess Association extended him boarding, lodging and air passage because of his Pakistan No.1 standing for over a decade.

The Pakistan player said he could not get any prize money as he could not finish among the top 10 players.—APP

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2014

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