By Iva Wharton
This week-end’s National Closed Junior Chess Championship hangs in a balance after seven qualifying players said on Saturday that they are prepared to sit out the championship unless the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) meets with them to iron out issues relating to the selection for the upcoming Inter Guiana Games.
The seven players, along with defending champion Ron Motilall are set to contest the tournament which is expected to commence on Saturday.
The group on Saturday told Stabroek Sport that they are requesting an emergency meeting with members of the GCF to address the team selected to represent Guyana at the Inter Guiana Games in Suriname. Several of the players in an interview with Stabroek News Sport Saturday at the City Mall said that they were disturbed by the precedent being set by the GCF when it comes to players being selected to compete at the IGG. One of the country’s top junior player Rashad Hussain, who placed second to Phillip Drayton in the GCF qualifying tournament to arrive at the seven junior players said himself and Suhai Feng are both members executive committee of the GCF and they were unaware of the selection of the team.
“I called for a meeting at the beginning of August, the meeting was to discuss the Inter Guiana Games team. The meeting was prolonged until the end of August and at that meeting they had already chosen the players on the Inter Guiana Games team namely; Taffin Khan, Ron Motilall, Mandy Ramnarine and Krystal Khan,” Hussain told Stabroek Sport.
Hussain said that at that same meeting he brought to the attention of the other members that Taffin Khan should not have been selected because he does not attend a learning institution.
“They said that Taffin opted out of the Inter Guiana Games and they called up Cecil Cox, a decision which was not done in consultation with members of the committee.” Hussain added:”There was no meeting to discuss this. I assumed that it was a phone call because other members of the committee knew nothing the selections.
They later learnt that the GCF is to submit a letter to Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony from Taffin Khan’s tutor. The group said they are fearful that the GCF may produce such a letter but was adamant that Khan does not attend school.
Hussain and Feng are of the belief that the action of the three members of the GCF was a deliberate act to avoid meeting to discuss the Inter Guiana Games team and the World Youth Championship.
The inter Guiana team leaves for Suriname on October 14. Hussain said via email he had raised the matter with Allan Herbert, Chairman of the Development Committee of Fide, who reportedly said once they sit out of the competition, then FIDE would become involved. Those in attendance at Saturday’s interview said that are not angry that Khan and his sister are competing at the IGG, but said that it is the way it was done.
Other players, they argued, should not have been bypassed and the three members in question had no right to make such a decision, the contend. According to them, a several of the players who competed in the just concluded junior national championship did so with hopes of being among the two players selected to compete at the IGG. Anthony Drayton, the top player at those qualifiers was one such player.
A visibly disturbed Drayton said that he was of the opinion that once he performed excellently at the qualifiers then he would make the team.
Taffin Khan no longer plays in the junior category on the local scene while his sister Krystal, did not compete in any in since 2009, they claim.
That they said is not fair to the players who have been putting their all into the sport.
Some of them said that they were questioning their reason for still competing in the sport if this is what will happen when it comes to international tournaments.
The players said this is the third time that a few members took it upon themselves to select the team to compete at the Inter Guiana Games.
Apart from Hussain, Feng and Motilall, others in attendance were Carlos Petterson and brothers Sham and Kana Khan.
Reached for a comment, Vice President Irshad Mohammed of the GCF said that he could not comment on the issue until he speaks with President of the Federation, Shiv Nandalall.