Dr Naeem Hamid Mirza
Sultan Khan, born in 1905 in a small village near Sargodha, was the strongest Chess Master in Asia and was among the World’s Top Five Players in third decade of the last Century. Completely illiterate and a servant of Sir Umer Hayat Tiwana, he was known in the Estate of Tiwanas for his proficiency in Chess. He was taken by Sir Umer Hayat Tiwana to Kalkata where he won All India Chess Championship in 1929. Subsequently, he accompanied Sir Tiwana to England where he dazzled the world by his abilities and genius despite being completely illiterate and representing the lower half of society. He stayed in London for a period of 5 years at the residence of his master. Sir Umer Hayat Tiwana got him entered in various Chess tournaments. In those 5 years of his international career, Sultan Khan won The Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1929, 1932 and 1933. He represented England three times in ”World Chess Olympiads” and defeated all the notable masters of Paris, London and Prague. He also won a match against World No 3 Tartakover and also beat ex-world champion legendary Capablanca in an almost forgotten game. Many considered him duly to be the world no 3 player of his times.
In 1933, Sir Umer Hayat Tiwana travelled back to India bringing Sultan Khan back alongwith him and putting an end to his International Career. Sultan Khan lived in a small house in his village for the rest of his life and died in oblivion in 1966. Neither World Chess Federation nor Pakistan Government ever acknowledged this great genius of his times. Recently another great player from Sub-continent Vishwanath Anand continues to draw applause while nobody even remembered the name of Sultan Khan who was no less a chess master than Anand. To pay the homage to this great player, The Chess Federation of Pakistan in coordination with Lahore Chess Club is organising Sultan Khan Memorial Rapid Chess Tournament at Lahore on 28th February. National Chess Champion, Mr Mahmood Lodhi shall be the chief guest on the opening day while Dr Naeem Hamid Mirza, General Secretary, Pakistan Chess Federation shall give away the prizes at the closing ceremony of the tournament.