With the sounds of everyday reality ringing familiarly in his ears outside its walls, President of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) James Bond paid a visit to the Camp Street Prison on Wednesday, supporting the idea of concretizing a chess club for inmates. Bond, who preferred to refer to the prison as a holding centre, answered a benevolent call from authorities to make chess available to those who desire it. The visit resulted, uncannily, from a chess competition which was held at the prison recently. Bond explained that he was deeply moved by the invitation to visit the facility, and the expression of confidence which was placed unquestioningly in his presidency. Inmates called upon the GCF to provide a fair number of chess sets and clocks to organize a club. Bond said the GCF committee will examine the request and he will provide feedback in due course.
The visit promised something worthwhile for persons who negotiated the wrong turn in society and are desirous of reorganizing themselves for a return to their normal lives. If the GCF succeeds in establishing a chess club at the Camp Street institution, the move could be extended to other similar facilities. Little by little, the idea may catch on and ultimately become profound. The benefits of interaction in chess are many, and may also bring communities closer. Not to mention the fact that the game gives a player the ability to think before he makes his next move; this enhances concentration and decision-making abilities.
The column was refreshed when it was informed that chess notation can be understood by selective inmates, and the published games could be replayed and analyzed. Some famous names at one time or the other were incarcerated, and they learnt to play the game in prison. Nelson Mandela played chess at Robben Island, and the game moulded his future career. Once chess is played regularly, the column believes, it will guarantee societal changes in a positive manner.
Internationally, Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen remains the highest ranked chess player worldwide at 2838. He is followed by:
- Wesley So, USA, 2822
- Fabiano Caruana, USA, 2817
- Vladimir Kramnik, Russia, 2811.
- Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, France, 2803.
- Hikaru Nakamura, USA, 2793.