The discipline of chess received a massive shot in the arm last week when it was revealed by FIDE, the world governing body for the sport, that three Guyanese players have achieved the Candidate Master (CM) status.
Reigning senior national champion Wendell Meusa, former national senior and junior champion Taffin Khan, and female player Maria Thomas were conferred with the title after churning out exceptional performances for Guyana at the Sub-Zonal tournament in Barbados.
The trio, along with Jessica Clementson, Julia Clementson and Yolander Persaud represented Guyana at the event. The Guyanese were pitted against much stronger players from 11 other countries, namely host Barbados, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and Venezuela.
According to president of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF), Irshad Mohamed, FIDE would usually host the Sub-Zonal competitions to allow countries which fall within a particular zone to put forward representatives to compete.
At these tournaments, players, depending on their performances, can achieve various titles, including CM, FIDE Master, International Master and Grand Master.
Commenting on the achievements of the three players, Mohamed said it is indeed a great honour for the country, and chess in particular. Meusa, Khan and Thomas have now joined Anthony Drayton and Ronuel Greenidge as the local players who hold CM titles. Drayton and Greenidge were bestowed with the titles about two years ago. “Over the years, the different tournaments that we were able to have would have been some of the motivation behind having players to achieve titles,” Mohamed said.
The GCF also heaped praises of Meusa, who is also the national coach and a FIDE Development Instructor, for his role during the last Olympiad when he was able to work directly with the players and help them to improve their game. “And he is one of the most instrumental persons in this whole process of players achieving Candidate Masters because he worked very vigorously to get them to achieve that title. I always believe credit must be given to him for the work he has done so far,” Mohamed acknowledged.
Meusa, speaking on behalf of the players, said it was the aim of the entire team to achieve the titles, noting that it is a great achievement for the players personally, and Guyana as a whole. The GCF expressed sincere gratitude to Caribbean Container Inc, Barbados Chess Federation, Gentle Elias and Chitra Samaroo who all made this trip possible.