On Wednesday, the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) met with Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine in his Brickdam office to press for the introduction of chess into the school system. President of the GCF James Bond torpedoed the deceptive misconceptions surrounding the ancient pastime, and purposefully mounted a small team seeking to influence the minister in the direction of allowing chess to be played in schools. Bond argued the world has grown more aware and more certain of the incalculable benefits of chess in schools. He suggested a ten-school pilot project as an initial experiment; the Ministry of Education would determine which ten schools would be used.
Minister Roopnaraine supported the plan and noted that since other disciplines were already incorporated into the school system, it would not be tedious to try the novel chess experiment. The minister knows the game of chess, and, perhaps, was stirred by the GCF’s demarche, and the outlook for its introduction into schools. In an aside, Dr Roopnaraine explained he played cricket at Queen’s College much to the disadvantage of chess. Luckily, in his current position, he has the opportunity to make amends for his chess default by currently viewing the royal game with favour. The column gives credit to Bond for his energy and his individual initiative in bringing the concept to the fore. It believes the said concept will impact widely on the school population allowing them to have an alternative in hand which would allow competitors to sit and think, and to make plans for the future, whether on the chessboard, or in life. The column debunks the argument that since Bond operates at the helm of the GCF, he is quite expected to make chess appear in the schools. No! Others have tried and failed. It is a process that may be dotted with misadventures, like the time I approached a secondary school hoping to share my knowledge of the game; the headmistress confidently informed me she wanted no gambling and draughts played in her school and subsequently refused me an audience.
Bond’s initiative is exemplary and has paved the way for making chess a pleasant and fulfilling adventure.
The GCF succeeded in negotiating a permanent location for playing chess at the National Resource Centre in Woolford Avenue from the ministry. The playing area, notably a room, would be named the Maurice Broomes Chess Centre, after Guyana’s strongest and most successful chess player.
The column wishes to acknowledge the efforts of Minister in the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry and Director of Sport Christopher Jones for making such a facility available to chess players. Again this was a Bond initiative. For persons who anticipate chess competitions, work is ongoing for a complete tournament timetable for this year. Competitors would be able to plan their tournament schedules and decide which competitions would be convenient for them to enter. Each competition has to be sponsored and that may be the reason for the delay in the completion of the schedule. Meanwhile, a children’s chess tournament is to be held this week at the National Library. However, date and time were not transmitted to me at the time of writing.
Bond has demonstrated in superlative style an ability to extract, as in chess, the most from a position that was lacking in content and promise. Such high resolve to perform should be commended.