The Guyana Chess Olympiad team leaves for Baku, Azerbaijan, this week to attend the 42nd Chess Olympiad. The mind game of chess has not as yet gained entry into the influential summer Olympics, although it has been trying to negotiate that barrier for years.
As an alternative, therefore, the World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym FIDE, hosts its own private, separate biennial Olympiad. At the 2014 Tromso, Norway, Olympiad, 172 nations were represented, a little less than almost the entire world, in reference to the 203 nations which competed in Rio de Janeiro. Other than the mammoth Olympics, and the FIFA World Cup, the chess Olympiad remains the largest sporting event in the world in relation to participating nations. It is reasonable to say Guyana is participating in a huge sophisticated event.
Owing to the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, and the Jamaican team’s athletic performances at the Rio Olympic Games, Jamaica would naturally be the glamorous starship nation of the Caribbean at the Olympiad. Everyone has heard of Jamaica. When it comes to proficiency in chess, however, Cuba would be viewed and treated with much respect. The great and formidable world chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca was from Cuba. In addition to that fact, Cuba placed 7th at the previous Tromso Olympiad beating out such chess behemoths as Armenia, Israel, Spain and England to mention a few of the significant nations.
The disbelief that jolted us when we learnt that the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) chose the Olympiad chess team without hosting a transparent qualifying competition, has worn off. It has come and gone. The local chess fraternity, the quiet, honest and law-abiding citizens of Guyana, minus the ones who have clearly indicated they prefer and support dishonesty in juxtaposition to correctness, have realized that the GCF would go as far as it can, and, certainly, as far as it pleases. There are precedents to support such actions, but those precedents do not make such actions morally admissible. The GCF is choking the life out of chess in Guyana by failing to promote the rich ancient game far and wide. Would the national junior and senior chess championships be held in 2016? Would a national schools’ chess championship be effected as it was done in previous years? Would an election of office bearers for the GCF ever be conducted? From the time the current chess administration wandered into office two and a half years ago, there has been no standard re-election of office bearers. Fresh elections are due annually, according to the Rules of the GCF. Now the national chess body is illegal.
The manner in which Guyana’s chess Olympiad team was chosen was dreadfully inadequate. Why were the Berbice chess players not invited to a qualifying tournament? Why was Kriskal Persaud, a former national junior and senior champion, not invited to a playoff? The unorthodox method of selection proved to be incomplete, filled with errors, and riddled with biases. A multitude of competent chess players who were contenders for selection, were ignored.
For the 2014 chess Olympiad in Tromso, the identical thing happened; the same functionaries were in the chess administration. While the women’s team is relatively new and deserving of its selection, the same cannot be said for the men’s. The column would have preferred to witness a transparent playoff in which dexterity in the game was adequately showcased. Nevertheless, good luck to the Guyana chess team!
The following games were played at the 2016 World Junior Championship in Bhubaneswar, India. US grandmaster Jeffery Xiong won the tournament.
White: Chuan-Chia Hsu
Black: Harsha Bharathakoti
- e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. b3 a6 4. Bb2 Nc6 5. g3 Nf6 6. e5 Ng4 7. h3 Nh6 8. Bg2 Nf5 9. O-O Be7 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Ne4 b5 12. Nh2 f6 13. exf6 gxf6 14. Ng4 d5 15. Nc3 Bd7 16. a4 d4 17. Ne4 h5 18. Nh2 Ng7 19. axb5 axb5 20. Rxa8 Qxa8 21. h4 Qa2 22. Bc1 Nb4 23. c3 Nd3 24. Qe2 Qc2 25. Qd1 Qb1 26. Ba3 Qxd1 27. Rxd1 b4 28. cxb4 cxb4 29. Bc1 Rc8 0-1.
White: Vladislav Artemiev
Black: Dylan Viennot
- Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O Rb8 7. e3 b5 8. b3 cxb3 9. axb3 Bb7 10. Qe2 a6 11. Bd2 Ne4 12. Be1 Bd6 13. Qc2 f5 14. Rxa6 Nb4 15. Bxb4 Bxa6 16. Qc6+ Qd7 17. Qxa6 Bxb4 18. Ne5 Rb6 19. Qa8+ Qd8 20. Qxd8+ Kxd8 21. Nf7+ Ke7 22. Nxh8 Nc3 23. Nxc3 Bxc3 24. Rc1 b4 25. Rc2 Ra6 26. Bf1 Ra8 27. f4 Rxh8 28. Ra2 Rb8 29. Bc4 h6 30. Kf2 Rb7 31. Ra5 Rb6 32. Kf3 g6 33. h3 h5 34. g4 hxg4+ 35. hxg4 Rb8 36. Ra6 Rb6 37. Ra8 Bd2 38. g5 Rb7 39. Rg8 Kf7 40. Rh8 Ra7 41. Rh7+ Kg8 42. Re7 Ra2 43. Rxe6 Kg7 44. Re7+ Kf8 45. Rxc7 Be1 46. e4 Rf2+ 47. Ke3 fxe4 48. Rf7+ Kg8 49. Ra7+ Kf8 50. Ra1 1-0.
White: Jeffery Xiong
Black: Christoph Menezes
- d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. O-O c6 7. Qc2 b6 8. Nbd2 Bb7 9. e4 Na6 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. e5 Ne4 12. a3 Rc8 13. Qd1 Nc7 14. Nb3 Qd7 15. Be3 Ba6 16. Re1 Qa4 17. Nc1 Qxd1 18. Rxd1 f6 19. Nd3 Ng5 20. exf6 Nxf3+ 21. Bxf3 gxf6 22. Bh6 Rfd8 23. Nf4 Bf8 24. Bxf8 Kxf8 25. Re1 Rd6 26. Re3 Kf7 27. Bh5+ Ke7 28. Bg4 Bb5 29. Bf5 h6 30. Rae1 Bd7 31. Bd3 Kf7 32. h4 Ne8 33. g4 Ng7 34. Kh2 Ba4 35. Bg6+ Ke7 36. Nxe6 Rxe6 37. Rxe6+ Nxe6 38. Rxe6+ Kxe6 39. Bf5+ Kd6 40. Bxc8 Be8 41. Bf5 Ke7 42. Kg3 Kf7 43. Kf4 Ke7 44. Bc8 Bc6 45. Kf5 Kf7 46. Be6+ 1-0.
White: Rasmus Svane
Black: Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad
- Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4 8. Bg5 f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qc2 Na6 13. Rd1 Qe8 14. O-O c6 15. h3 Qe7 16. a3 f5 17. exf5 Nxf5 18. Bd3 Nc5 19. Bxe5 Nxd3 20. Qxd3 Bxe5 21. Rfe1 Nh4 22. Nxe5 Bf5 23. Qg3 Rae8 24. Nd3 Qg7 25. Nc5 h6 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 27. Kh2 Ng6 28. Qd6 Kh8 29. Qd4 Ne5 30. N5e4 g4 31. h4 c5 32. Qxc5 Rc8 33. Qd5 Bd7 34. Ng3 Bc6 35. Qd6 Nxc4 36. Qf4 Ne5 37. Rd6 Rf8 38. Nf5 g3+ 39. fxg3 Ng4+ 40. Kg1 Rxf5 41. Rd8+ 1-0.