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'Illegal' chess prodigy to play for France

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09:11 CEST+02:00

Once threatened with expulsion for living in the country illegally, a Bangladeshi chess prodigy will now represent France at next month's European championships, chess officials said Monday.

Fahim Alam, 11, won France's under-12 chess championship in April but was facing expulsion because he arrived illegally in France in October 2008 with his father Nura and in 2010 was issued with an order to leave the country.

After his case received widespread media attention, Alam's father was granted a work and residency permit in May after obtaining a job as a dishwasher and social housing in the Paris suburb of Creteil.

The director of the French chess federation, Laurent Verat, said there was now no obstacle to Alam taking part in the European championships in Prague from August 16th to 26th as part of the French team.

"He is planned to be with the other young French in Prague," Verat said, adding that permission needed to be obtained from the Bangladeshi chess federation.

"It's done," Alam's coach Xavier Parmentier said, confirming he would be able to take part and adding that the boy "has begun to work and concentrate on chess after the media hurricane" surrounding his case.

French officials, including former prime minister Francois Fillon, had said Alam's case would be examined "with the greatest attention" after it came to light earlier this year.

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