Nasiruddin Ghalib, one of the finest chess players and a renowned coach from the City, passed away here on Friday after prolonged illness. He was was 69.
Widely acknowledged as the pioneer of the sport in the State and also as someone who played a key role in the promotion of the sport across the country as the secretary of the All India Chess Federation, Ghalib was always respected highly by the entire chess fraternity for his integrity and vast knowledge of the game.
But, at the same time it was obvious that this gifted player-cum-coach of yesteryears had been checkmated by fate and had to go through a harrowing phase because of his failing health (in the last few weeks even his vision deteriorated badly) and dwindling financial support.
Only a few days ago, Ghalib was spotted at a Corporate hospital undergoing radiation treatment for cancer. “I am not sure how long I can fight this battle against deteriorating health”, was how the feeble voice could speak out.
Ghalib often took pride in reminding that one of his most memorable moments was when as an arbiter of the 1994 World chess championship matches in Sanghinagar near Hyderabad he walked across to greet former world champion Anatoly Karpov.
Quite significantly, this genteel Hyderabadi was also the deputy arbiter for the World Cup held in Ramoji City here where he saw his prodigy Viswanathan Anand emerge champion. Incidentally, in 1982, Anand made his first appearance in the Sub-junior nationals when Ghalib was the AICF official. “In this backdrop, it was a great moment to stand so close to that glorious moment when Anand won the World Cup”, he remarked then.
Not many amongst the current generation might be aware that it was Ghalib who made efforts to send Anand’s mother as manager for some of the big events to keep the former comfortable and keep improving at the higher levels.
Some of the trainees of Ghalib include the famous Khadilkar sisters and Hyderabad’s own P. D. S. Girinath. As a player, he always figured amongst the top six in the country between 1969 and 1978. Winning the All India Bilwara tournament in Hyderabad in early 70s and the gold medal in the 1988 Biel tournament for untitled players were the high-points of his career.
Ironically, Ghalib, who was also a well-known columnist and a contributor to a national news agency on chess, penned a book titled “The Ghalib Saga” the story of a chess master and a coach was his last book. “By all means, his life was a story filled with agony despite being a champion in many ways. And, Ghalib, who checkmated many a rival across the 64 squares had to make a final bow in life.