BIOGRAPHY OF RANI HAMID
(born 14 July 1944)
Rani Hamid is the queen of chess in Bangladesh. For almost 30 years, she has been conquering kingdoms in the world of black and white squares. In this time, she has won many championships and brought rare honors to her country. Though Rani does not consider chess a full-time profession, she pursued it with the dedication to achieve excellence. Her life illustrates how a woman in a conservative Muslim family overcame social constraints to become an unbeatable chess player while also managing her household. Rani is an inspiring example for women in Bangladesh.
Life of "Rani Hamid" At a Glance
Real Name: Saiyeda Jasimunnesa Khatun
Date of Birth: February 23, 1944
Place of Birth: Sylhet, Bangladesh
Father’s Name: Saiyed Momtaz Ali
Mother’s Name: Mosammat Kamrunnesa Khatun
Siblings: 3 (Saiyed Amir Ali, Shamser Ali, Saiyed Delowar Ali), 1 sister (Saiyeda Minu Momtaz)
Profession: Chess Player
➢Started primary education at Chattogram Nandankanan Girls’ High School in 1952 (directly admitted to 2nd grade).
➢Studied at various schools in Comilla, Rajshahi, and Sylhet up to enrollment in 1960 due to my father’s transferable job.
➢Completed Intermediate and Private Degrees from Eden College, Dhaka through private exams.
Experience and Ranking:
➢ She has become the national champion a total of 20 times.
➢ She became Zonal Champion in 2018, and got the Journalists Choice Award in Chess World Cup 2018 in Russia
➢ Gold Medal in Commonwealth Chess 2017 in Delhi.
➢Becoming a non-British player to win the British Women’s Chess Championship (won 3 times)
➢ Won the Bangladesh National Sports Award in 1985
➢ Won the Asian Women’s Chess Championship in 1981
➢ Achieved the title of Woman International Master in 1985
➢ Won the Women’s World Chess Championship in 1989
➢ Won multiple international chess championships including in Commonwealth countries
➢ Competed in over 50 international chess competitions and Olympiads
➢ Played for Bangladesh in 5 Chess Olympiads from 1986 to 2002
➢ Helped Bangladesh win a bronze medal in the 1986 Dubai Chess Olympiad
➢ Only woman to play for Bangladesh men’s national chess team by eligibility
➢ Named among the top chess players in the 1985 World Chess Championship
➢ Received numerous awards and honors for excellence in chess from government and organizations
Native Language: Bengali
Spouse: MA Hamid
Children: Kaiser Hamid, Sohel Hamid, Bobby Hamid, Jebin Hamid.
- Mazar Khela Daba Daba
- Khelar Ain Kanun
Early Life and Education
This remarkable woman was born in Sylhet district in 1944. Her father Saiyed Momtaz Ali was a police officer and her mother Mosammat Kamrunnesa Khatun was a homemaker. Among four brothers and four sisters, Rani was the third child. Her brothers were Saiyed Amir Ali, Shamser Ali, Saiyed Delowar Ali and Saiyed Motahar Ali. Her sisters were Saiyeda Minu Momtaz. Rani’s full name was Saiyeda Jasimunnesa Khatun but she was known as Rani. After marriage, she took her husband’s name and became Rani Hamid. In the sports world, she is famous as Rani Hamid. She spent his childhood in different districts due to his father’s job. She has been very much inclined towards chess since childhood.
From early on, he encouraged Rani’s interest in sports and games. Rani has fond memories of playing outdoors, climbing trees, and teasing her siblings in her village. She eagerly awaited the annual floods when boats would be sent from various houses to take her mother pirating. Visiting the “maternal uncles’” houses after the floods brought her much joy. The interest in chess increased when she saw her father, Syed Mumtaz Ali, playing chess with his friends every evening. Despite being a good badminton player and athlete in school life, chess was Rani’s main passion. She started his academic studies at Nandankanan Girls’ High School in Chittagong. Due to her father’s job, she attended Missionary Girls’ High School in Comilla for one year and Faizunnesa Girls’ High School until the seventh grade. She moved to Rajshahi when his father was posted there. As there was no separate school for girls there, she participated in the matriculation examination with a special request from Rajshahi Zila School.
During school sports, she used to sign up for every sport. As a child, She was very good at running. When she was in Comilla, her teachers were very keen that she participate in the national-level race. If given a chance, she could have become a famous athlete, but it was not her parents’ choice that the daughter of the family should go out of the house to run. She lost the opportunity to become a runner because she did not get permission from her family. Chess and tennis were practiced in Rani Hamid’s house. Her father had a special interest in sports. Her interest in chess arose from her father’s interest. Rani used to play chess with her brothers, especially when her father was not at home. Despite her interest in chess, Rani did not go far enough to play chess before her marriage due to the rigid system and social outlook.
One of the proud points of his life was his participation in the movement demanding Bangla as the state language. But she wasn’t old enough to understand that. In 1952, she was directly admitted to the second class. At that time, the upper-class students of the school often called them to the procession, but she did not understand what the procession was. Later, it came to be known that it was a rally for the movement demanding the state language Bangla. She now feels proud to have been able to participate in those marches. At that time, girls in Muslim families did not have the same access to education as today. Due to her interest in education, Hamid’s graduation degree was possible by overcoming the adverse time and environment. In this regard, Rani Hamid is a shining example for women in today’s women’s liberation movement.
In 1959, she married Captain Abdul Hamid, an athlete in the army. As her husband is an athlete, she gets all the support she needs from him in the game of chess. Rani started playing chess professionally after her marriage. She was a housewife then. In the time of the great liberation war she along with her family was imprisoned in Peshawar, Pakistan. After the independence of the country, she came to Dhaka Cantonment in 1972. Then she successfully passed intermediate at the private Eden College in the cantonment. She completed his BA from there. Because of her husband’s interest in and enthusiasm for sports, she insisted on playing chess. At that time, print and electronic media were not so accessible. It was very difficult to get any information about the tournament. Besides, there was no one to give her chess books or coaching, but her husband, Abdul Hamid, allowed her to practice chess. Rani Hamid has been participating in all kinds of competitive events since 1977. Without any coaching or experience of an international standard, She first gained fame by participating in the first Asian Championship in Hyderabad, India, in 1981. She is a top chess player in the Commonwealth, an International Woman Master, and the National British Women’s Chess Champion. She is a three-time British Women’s Chess Champion. This is the pride of Bangladesh. Rani Hamid is the fifth woman in the Chess Olympiad to play for the national men’s team in the Olympiad on merit.
Before discovering chess, She had a strong passion for literature and music. She was an avid reader, often immersing herself in novels and storybooks. She also enjoyed listening to songs by various artists. Though living on an army base limited her opportunities to go out, she would sometimes visit the cinema with groups of friends. On occasion, Jane went to the stadium to watch sports games being played. Despite the restrictions of army life, she found small ways to pursue her interests in books, music, and entertainment before chess became her overriding focus.
In 1974-75, while living in the Dhaka Cantonment quarters, Rani Hamid was a neighbor of national chess champion Dr. Akmal Hossain. He taught him to play chess. At first, She was a very aggressive player. Then focus on the positional game. Her husband inspired her to participate in the national level game. Then she participated in her first Mahasin Chess Competition in 1976. Along with her, several women including Dhaka Medical College students Diptee and Beethi also took part in chess.
In 1977, with the cooperation of ‘Novodigonto Shongshod’ Chess Federation, for the first time, a separate chess competition was organized for women. This event was also held in 1978 and 1979. Records at that time are not officially recognized. Bangladesh was not yet a member of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Bangladesh became an official member of FID in 1979. Since then, records have been kept. Rani Hamid became champion all three times. In 1979, Rani Hamid became champion in the Dhaka Open Chess Competition. That means, in the same year she became champion twice. After that, there was no looking back. She started participating in one national and international competition after another and achieving success. In 1981, without any international standard coaching or experience, like a debutante, she participated in the 1st Asian Championship in Hyderabad, India, and earned fame.
Rani Hamid is one of the top chess players of the Commonwealth, an International Women’s Master, and National British Women’s Chess Champion. So far, she has had the honor of becoming British Women’s Chess Champion three times. This glory is now impossible for Bangladeshi women to achieve. Because when the British women chess players were losing to Bangladeshi woman Rani Hamid, perhaps some kind of inferiority complex worked among them. They claimed that women from other countries would not be able to play in the British Women’s National Championship. Later, women from other countries were banned from playing in the British National Championship. Now only British women play and become champions. But Rani Hamid is proud to have become British Women’s Chess Champion three times. This pride is also Bangladesh’s.
Rani Hamid is the 5th woman in the Chess Olympiad who played for the national men’s team by eligibility. In a remarkable feat, she became a rare three-time champion (1983, 1985, and 1989) in British women’s chess. At the same time, She also touched the record of the then-world-famous chess player of the subcontinent, the great Mir Sultan Khan. She also finished runner-up three times at the British Women’s Championship, once at the Lloyds Bank Masters once at the World Chess Championship. Shahid Mufti Kassed won the International Chess Championship, SAARC Airlines Chess Championship, and Asian City Chess Championship. She received the title of ‘Fide’ from the International Chess Federation in 1984.
Rani Hamid is a very successful woman in both sports and her personal life. She married Mohammed Abdul Hamid, a naval officer, in 1959 at the age of 15. He set a record in Pakistan as a swimmer in the then-Pakistan military. Mohammad Abdul Hamid was the president of the Bangladesh Handball Federation. Abdul Hamid is the author of the widely discussed book ‘Tinti sena obhuththan ebong kichu na bola kotha’. He has also written four other books. All the books have been well received. His eldest son, Kaiser Hamid, played for the national football team. Sohail Hamid played squash, handball, cricket, and football. She is now the general secretary of the Squash and Racquets Federation. His younger son, Shahjahan Hamid Bobby, is a former player for the national handball team. her daughter, Zebin Hamid, played chess. Interestingly, she, her husband, and her son are all national award-winning athletes. She has no regret that the children did not take up her profession. Rather, she is more than happy that they choose their path. She is a saree lover. She has a huge collection of this traditional attire. She has written two books named ‘Mazar Khela Daba’ and ‘Daba Khela Ain Kanoon’.
Rani Hamid is one of the few people who have risen to the pinnacle of success in the field of sports and made herself an inspirational figure. When the women of the country could not even think of stepping outside the house, she became the advertisement of Bangladesh in the international arena of chess. She has earned worldwide fame only by playing chess. Many others played chess during or after her time, most of whom have disappeared from the world of chess, but for more than four decades She has been conquering one chess empire after another. Even at the age of 70s, Rani Hamid’s interest in chess has not diminished. Instead, at this age, She is dreaming of becoming a national chess champion and making a name in the Guinness Book of Records.
Rani Hamid’s capabilities in chess are unmatched for a Bangladeshi woman. Through her commitment and knowledge of the game, she gained national and international honors, including being a non-British woman to win the British Chess Championship many times. Despite the societal restraints on women when she began playing in the 1970s, Rani surmounted hurdles through her enthusiasm for the sport. Balancing her personal life as a mother of four with her professional chess career, she emerged as a leader in her field. Her win over prejudice and constraints is as inspirational as her success on the chess board. Rani Hamid remains an iconic “queen of 64 squares” who brought fame to Bangladesh in the world arena. Through her brilliant career, she proved that no ambition is unachievable if one has the fortitude to follow it. Rani Hamid’s life and accomplishments will continue pushing generations of women to reach their potential.