Rural children and not just those in the city need coaching in chess

Dear Editor,

Congratulations is extended to the QC ‘A’ Team for winning the National School Chess Championship and also to Saeed Ali (no relation to me) for winning the individual Chess Championship.

My problem lies in the disparity between the help that is given to the players in the urban centres in comparison to the the rural areas. When I read that Saeed Ali is coached by Roy Sharma and Cecil Cox (a former National Junior Champion) is also coached by Mr Sharma, I had the feeling that the rural areas will never catch up with their urban pals. Chess is an exacting game and it needs the experience and knowledge of players like Mr Sharma and others to share that expertise with all the nation, and not just the Georgetown players.

For two years now I’ve heard that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport is looking for a coach for chess. I am positive that with a national coach in place, our children in the rural areas would be better able to match skills with their counterparts in the city. How come after so long, there is no coach? Is it that there is no one in Guyana capable of taking up the challenge? I am an avid fan of chess and know of the benefits children can gain. I am calling on Minister Frank Anthony who is always talking about chess and the benefits of chess, to stop the talk and walk the walk by providing a coach so that all the young chess players will have someone to guide them through the necessary techniques and skills to master the game. I am told that in the ’70s and ’80s it was the young chess players who excelled, and some of them were Guyana scholars. If such is the result of playing chess, I propose that the Ministry of Education look into the idea of introducing chess into every school in Guyana as a subject (especially from 1st to 3rd forms).

Mr Donald Duff of Stabroek News wrote that Mr Roy Sharma is a renowned blitz player, but can he please explain what ‘blitz’ is to those of us who are ignorant of the term. What I am thinking is that Mr Sharma could be engaged to spread knowledge of the game, and that since he is already turning out champions in Georgetown, he can be sent to the outlying areas to help the children who are not so lucky as those in the city.

I am only agigitating for the ministry to become more involved and help spread the game across our ten regions and not Region Four alone.

We need the kind of training and coaching that will enable us to compete at the higher level of the Inter-Guyana Games and abroad. Without proper coaching, one can only achieve a low level, and therefore I sincerely beg the Minister of Sport to see that all the schoolchildren who are playing chess do so on a level playing field.

Yours faithfully,
Zaman Ali

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