In 2018, a young Maliha Ali played chess with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa. At that time, COAS Bajwa visited a school run by Zindagi Trust, where he met various talented students. Maliha Ali was one of the talented students.
Shehzad Roy, the founder of the organization, and DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor were also present on the occasion.
As a goodwill gesture, the army chief played a chess game with Maliha Ali. Today, Maliha Ali teaches chess to female students at the same school.
In a recent interview, Maliha Ali explains that her chess game with COAS Bajwa encouraged her to actively pursue chess. She said COAS Bajwa’s praise and appreciation further sparked her interest.
“It was an honor for me to play chess with the Army Chief. Playing chess with the Army Chief increased my interest and the Army Chief also encouraged me,” Maliha Ali said.
Maleeha is now teaching at her school SMB Fatima Jinnah. She teaches chess to female students and is also continuing her education.
Moreover, Maliha emphasized the importance of chess as a mind-sharpening game.
“Chess is a mind game that is important for mental health. It enhances creativity,” Maliha Ali said. She also expressed her elation on how it is a unique feat that a public school is providing chess lessons.
Read more: Why women chess players don’t reach the top?
More on Maliha Ali
Maliha started her chess journey from casual games at home. However, the chess classes offered at her school pointer her in a new direction.
Owing to her tactical prowess at chess, Maliha Ali won scores of school and city-level chess competitions.
— ♟ 𝕄𝕚𝕣 𝕊𝕦𝕝𝕥𝕒𝕟 ℂ𝕙𝕖𝕤𝕤 𝔸𝕔𝕒𝕕𝕖𝕞𝕪♟ (@MSc0a) March 8, 2020
She participated in the 2018 National Women’s Chess Championship, an open event with no age restrictions. As a result, she faced 30 of the most formidable players from across Pakistan.
Maliha finished 7th which is a remarkable feat. She was not only the youngest player to feature in the top 10 but also the only player from a government school to feature in the final round of the competition.
There is no denying that Pakistan is filled with talented gems like Maliha Ali. However, it is important to recognize such prodigies and provide them with facilities so that they can excel and make Pakistan proud.