Following a regrettable hiatus of well over a decade, the National Chess Championships are back. The Invitational Tournament began yesterday at the comfortable Ocean Spray Hotel on Vlissengen Road and continues today on the roof of the King’s Plaza Hotel.

Ten senior players and eight juniors are playing for the titles of National Champion and National Junior Chess Champion of Guyana. There are a few favourites for the titles in both categories, according to the results of tournaments which were held during the year. Ronuel Greenidge, Learie Webster and Shiv Nandalall seem to be the top contenders among the seniors, while Sheriffa Ali, her brother Saeed and Cecil Cox can easily walk away with the Championship in the other category. David Khan and his son Taffin are dangerous competitors in the Senior and Junior sections of the Championship. Whatever happens, the tournament would be a rigorous one, and whoever wins among the seniors and juniors, deserves to be called the National Champion of Guyana.

The tournament is being held by the Steering Committee for the Development of Chess under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. Minister Dr Frank Anthony has been in the forefront for the hosting of the National Championships, in much the same way as he is insistent that the game must be promoted in the ten regions of Guyana.

Even with the National Championships ongoing, a programme is being worked out to host chess clinics in Berbice, Linden and Essequibo. Dr Anthony has also issued instructions that an Annual General Meeting for the formation of a new Chess Federation must be held without delay. When it rains, it pours!

If chess was on the move during the year, it is galloping now. The light that I had imagined would brighten chess in Guyana, is real, and can be seen now.

Players are reminded they should be properly dressed for the Championships according to the dress code laid out for participants in tournaments by the Steering Committee. They are also requested to conform to the Committee’s Code of Conduct for the Championships.

Good luck to all the participants of the Tournament. Let the games begin!