Guyana’s teams gave good account of themselves at Olympiad

The South Sudan team that won the top prize in the E-category Open Section for Men at the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

“We are focused on the administration of chess to increase our reach throughout Guyana. We finally have a programme which is FIDE approved and we will be looking to execute it in full in the upcoming months. We will be having grandmaster training for our elite chess players.” – James Bond, President of the Guyana Chess Federation

Each chess Olympiad takes on a different dimension, but the majesty of the event has remained homogenous. Every two years, the chess world meets at the Olympiad to celebrate and examine the intricacies of the royal game; to compete, renew old friendships and establish new ones. The princely event brings together teams from about two-thirds of the nations worldwide, gathering in one location for approximately three weeks. For example, at this year’s Olympiad, 183 countries were represented!

Guyana enriched her image lavishly when she participated in the 2018 Chess Olympiad. She was the first nation to be interviewed and garner exposure in the widely-circulated online magazine, Chess Base. Our nation received positive publicity similar to three years ago when the country first discovered oil. Perhaps the magnificent oil find generated the interest Guyana sparked at the Chess Olympiad. Each Guyanese participant at the Olympiad, man and woman, won a game during the fiercely contested competition. On occasion, the women engineered a clean sweep winning 4-0, and the men came within half-a-point of repeating the same. It was a commendable effort when one reasons that three of the Guyanese women players are at school, and chess elites, in addition to super-chess elites, were prevalent at the Olympiad; the finest from each country.

Double Gold for China! Appearing resplendent in the two front rows of the auditorium where the closing ceremony of the 43rd Chess Olympiad was held in Batumi, Georgia, the uniformed Chinese team and support staff wait elatedly to uplift the coveted men and women’s gold medals, the top prizes for the Olympiad. Grandmasters Bu Xiangzhi and Huang Qian who are holding the signs which read “Winners”, were also the winners of individual gold medals. (Photo: Amruta Mokal)

During the Olympiad, the General Assembly of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) met to elect a new president. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who served as president of FIDE for 23 years, resigned earlier this year. His deputy, Giorgios Makropoulos, a Greek citizen, took over the helm of the organization. He ran against Arkady Dvorkovich of Russia for the presidency. There were originally three contenders for the post: the other being British grandmaster Nigel Short. However, Short teamed with Dvorkovich, and, therefore, was subtracted from the race. When the votes were counted, Dvorkovich possessed 103 to Makropoulos’ 78. As the new President, Dvorkovich has since appointed Short a Vice-President for FIDE. A while back, it was reported that Dvorkovich possessed responsibility for organizing the well-conducted 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The FIDE Congress also brought heightened recognition for Guyana. President of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) James Bond  canvassed successfully for a member of the GCF, Yolander Persaud, to sit on the Ethics Commission of FIDE. The elegant “chess” move by Bond represented the first time we were able to unfasten the shackles which hindered us from climbing to a moderate level within FIDE. The Ethics Commission addresses disputes among member federations, in addition to listening to individual disputes in special instances.

The announcement that Bond has engineered a visit to Guyana for January by President Dvorkovich is in itself exciting. Undoubtedly, it will bring tangible benefits to the chess fraternity in Guyana. We may obtain also, Russian grandmaster tutelage. We have to wait and see.

With FIDE having a new president who formerly operated as a deputy prime minister, who is respected and can get things done, is heartening for the royal game.

China took gold in the men and women’s categories. The USA was awarded the silver, and Russia the bronze in the men’s category. The silver went to Ukraine and the bronze to Georgia 1 in the women’s section.


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