Seven to qualify today for national champion tournament

National chess player and FIDE Candidate Master Anthony Drayton (left) leads the National Senior Qualifier Chess Tournament with a perfect score of three points from his three games. Next to Drayton is Glenford Corlette and Rashad Hussein. The tournament continues today from 10 am at the Aquatic Centre, Liliendaal.

Countries and governments vary vastly in size and ‘weight’… That does not mean that the biggest, meanest countries always get their way: their huge resources may not be easy to apply on the scale that counts. A hammer works well if you have a nail. It’s a bad tool for dealing with ants. – Charles Crawford, former United Kingdom Ambassador to Sarajevo (1996-1998); Belgrade (2001-2003) and Poland (2003-2007).

The brightest news to emerge during the past week for Guyana was the announcement that the current border controversy with Venezuela will be determined by the International Court of Justice. The announcement was concise, but it shall be enduring. The column felt impelled to register this fact owing to its significance and believing the strategic approach by President David Granger to the United Nations for direct and immediate intervention, struck a commensurable chess move. Remaining indifferent toward the persisting problem and relying on the causal Good Offices process would have meant Guyana would be operating internationally with one hand tied behind its back. Its diplomatic options would have been stifled. Clearly, what Granger did was to step back and examine the chess board and rationalize the moves which were made in retrospect. He perceived the moves that had to be repaired to allow Guyana the kind of leverage she requires.

Attractively referred to as ‘the tastiest kitchen in town’ and located at Lamaha and Camp streets, the Red Cherry Restaurant provided chess players who contested the National Senior Qualifier Chess Tournament at the Aquatic Centre, Liliendaal with some lavish boxed lunches free of cost. Lunches were donated yesterday and today for all players, officials and onlookers. Following some shy hesitation, the column eventually managed to get a photo of the two cooks: Tasha (left) and Connie.

In his book Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger, in reference to achieving a dramatic opening to China, advised: “Generally, the more squares a player dominates, the greater his options and the more constrained become those of his opponent. Similarly, in diplomacy, the more options one side has, the fewer will be available to the other side and the more careful it will have to be in pursuing its objectives. Indeed, such a state of affairs may in time provide an incentive for the adversary to seek to end his adversarial role.”

In receiving the desired response from the UN, we shall prepare ourselves to meet our varied challenges and await with patience, the next move. Our Ambassador to Venezuela Mrs Cheryl Miles would be very busy. Having worked for her, I am aware of the exigencies and pressures of the situation.

The final two rounds of the National Senior Qualifier Tournament will be played today. Seven players, the top finishers, will be selected to play for the title of National Chess Champion of Guyana later in the year. Wendell Meusa is the current national champ and will be joining the seven invitees at the appropriate hour.

FIDE Candidate Master Anthony Drayton was leading the points table at the time of writing, followed by Taffin Khan, Glenford Corlette, Roberto Neto and Kriskal Persaud, all potential qualifiers.

It is my understanding also, that the Guyana Chess Federation will be hosting a women’s chess tournament shortly. There is a possibility that Guyana could field men’s and women’s teams at the 2018 Chess Olympiad in September.

Director of the National Qualifiers Tournament Irshad Mohamed has adopted a stern approach to players who arrive late. So far, he has disqualified at least two latecomers from their individual games. The tournament is FIDE-rated, and therefore the regulations must be observed. Chess remains a disciplined game and observers were not surprised at this mature development. Internationally, the rules are the same.

For yesterday and today, a number of delicious boxed lunches were made available to the participants of the National Qualifiers Tournament, along with the officials for the tournament and curious onlookers, compliments of Pierre Nathoo, a sympathizer of chess who relishes its advancement. 

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