Associations in each county would help popularize chess

Flashback: Veral Felix, a student of Skeldon High school, receiving his trophy from school teacher Zahir Moakan at the 2015 Berbice Inter-School Chess Championships. Skeldon High won the tournament which was organized by Krishnanand Raghunandan, the Guyana Chess Federation’s Berbice representative. Felix was accompanied by his mother (centre) to participate in the tournament, travelling from his residence in Orealla.

Ever since James Bond became the standard bearer for local chess, the concept for the administration of the game is shifting. We are being refreshed by a new insight into the development of chess. It seems as though the emphasis is heading towards amassing new members for the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF). If this is so, such action promises to be a worthwhile cause. The column has tirelessly been advocating the cultivation of new members for the GCF. Now at long last it seems to be taking form.

Years ago, chess was a robust pastime in Berbice. Kriskal Persaud from Rose Hall won both junior and senior national championships. Russian grandmaster Vladimir Anatoshin visited Berbice and played some simultaneous games there. There was once an East Coast Chess Association and members met at the Lusignan Community Centre. The East Coast produced Edan Warsali from La Bonne Intention who represented Guyana at the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Argentina. Warsali was among the best chess players in Guyana. Can the Association be resuscitated with Bond at the helm? The column would bet it could.

Flashback: Veral Felix, a student of Skeldon High school, receiving his trophy from school teacher Zahir Moakan at the 2015 Berbice Inter-School Chess Championships. Skeldon High won the tournament which was organized by Krishnanand Raghunandan, the Guyana Chess Federation’s Berbice representative. Felix was accompanied by his mother (centre) to participate in the tournament, travelling from his residence in Orealla.

A while back, this columnist visited the Essequibo Coast in company with the then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony for a candid look at the status of chess in the region. The region lacked an Associa-tion but some persons who were au fait with the game participated in, and assisted with a training session at the Anna Regina Multilateral School. The column understands a plan, similar to the one conceived for Berbice, that of creating a Chess Associa-tion, is on the cards for Essequibo. The general idea of creating multiple Associations is to widen the impact of chess in Guyana. The column is optimistic that the executive body of the GCF would decide with unparalleled unanimity to establish new chess Associations locally far and wide. We should give each citizen an opportunity to learn and play the game, if they so desire. The intended process will be lengthy and tedious, but a determined people would prevail.

With the Associations in place, it is possible to contemplate an unprecedented format for the 2017 National Chess Champion-ships. We can take a serious look at, for example, the hosting of the Championships in George-town, Berbice and, or at least the finals of the junior and senior championships. A chess colleague, Loris Nathoo, prefers a two-best-in-three final in both categories, to accurately determine the winners of the National Chess Champion-ships. The column favours such a proposal. There can be an elimination process until the final two, the most prolific of the lot, are left standing. Ultimately, the last persons standing would be declared national chess champions in separate categories. The format would be similar to tennis, football and cricket. As it stands currently, competitors engage in a round-robin competition, and the persons with the highest points would be declared national champions in their individual categories.

The column shied away from mentioning a separate national women’s chess championship since it has not been informed whether such an attraction would be implemented. One has to take into consideration that local women chess players are few in number. Should the executive of the GCF look upon the three counties’ experiment for the nationals, it will affirm an undiminished ever-expanding dream for local chess. It may indicate that Guyana is on the move in chess.

Meanwhile, in international chess, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads the Gashimov Memorial Chess Tournament in Azerbaijan. Mamedyarov defeated Wesley So, the US grandmaster, during the first round of the tournament ending his 67-game wunbeaten streak. However, So struck back by beating Russian grandmaster and a previous world champion Vladimir Kramnik. English grandmaster Michael Adams holds the second spot in the tournament having suffered no losses so far.

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