The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) on Saturday revealed the names of the persons on a 22-member team that is currently preparing for the FIDE Youth World Cup tournament.
Although hampered by examination dates, members of the team have been selected based on performances at a national qualifying tournament held last month.
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has invited players from Guyana to compete in the FIDE Cadet & Youth Online Rapid World Cup tournament, which will take place from August 1st to 31st, 2021. This World Cup tournament is an official FIDE competition, and will attract the best under-18 players from all affiliate nations around the world.
Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, events like this were held in person at venues around the world, and they required teams to incur the cost of travel and accommodation for the duration of the tournament, which resulted in small contingents from federations like Guyana’s. However, this online event offers the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) a unique opportunity for its young players to participate with their peers from other countries at a fraction of the cost.
The Guyana players who qualified to play in this tournament are up against the best in the world, and are expected to gain valuable experience from this competition.
The GCF has been able to field a larger team this year, expanding from 14 players last year to 22 this year. Disappointingly, the team will miss the contributions of some of the nation’s strongest youth players as a result of the irregular schedules of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) examinations.
The GCF has said that its Chess in Schools programme is now bearing fruit, with the availability of a wider base of competitors from which to select its best players.
The implementation of ongoing training and investment in our very young brings two eight-year-olds from School of the Nations, Julian Mohabir and Aquilani Swaminadha; and nine-year-old Nicholas Zhang from Mae’s School playing in the Under- 10 category. They have been under the guidance of a trained world-class chess coach, and this sets the stage for a great future, the GCF has said.
The NGSA examination schedule has had a major impact on the Under-12 division, with many of the players preparing for this important exam. This open category still carries a formidable team, with Omar Sharif from Mae’s School, who has demonstrated remarkable prowess for the last year and easily deserves to be the number one contender to represent his country at this event.
Joining him in the Under-12 Open will be his schoolmates Alexander Zhang and Mahir Rajkumar, and Micaiah Enoe from Marian Academy.
In the girls’ section, player Anaya Lall, who has a hearing impairment, will be playing in the female Under-12 category, after competing in the Under-10 category last year. Despite her challenges, Lall is said to be a dedicated player, and has shown love for the game and determination to excel over the last two years. However, she would need to play at her best to do well in this event.
In the Under-14 Open division, Guyana will be represented by School of the Nations student Emmanuel Primus, a consistent and dedicated competitor. For the girls’ section of the Under- 14 tournament, Queen’s College student Maliha Rajkumar, who played in this category last year, will use this experience to improve her expertise and chess acumen, along with these newcomers to the team: Saint Stanislaus College’s Italy Ton-Chung, Queen’s College’s Nailia Rahaman, and Pooja Lam from the Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) School.
The Under-16 Open event will see a seasoned Queen’s College trio led by Kishan Puran, the tournament’s champion of the qualifying tournament, who has shown remarkable progress over the past year. He is joined by fellow QC students Raveon Adonis and Mathew Singh.
The girls’ Under-16 event will feature Aniyah Couchman of Queen’s College and Adia Alphonso of Marian Academy, who have both been in constant training but will face quality players in that highly competitive category.
For the Under-18 Open, Marian Academy’s Upper Six student Oluwadare Oyeyipo, Saint Stanislaus College’s senior student Keron Sandiford, and Akili Theophil of the University of Guyana will take to the board to prove that they are the best juniors in the country. They will be playing at the highest level, for which they have been preparing over the last 18 months. They have all been competing against the best senior players in Guyana during local tournaments, but will have to apply themselves well to advance in this category.
This international tournament is expected to be a 10-round Swiss, and could see the top players gaining entry to Fide’s FIDE Online Rapid Super Final 2021 and the FIDE Online Rapid Grand Prix Series 2021.
The GCF, through a missive, has sought to extend its gratitude to School of the Nations, Saint Stanislaus Alumni Association, the Queen’s College Old Students Association and Marian Academy for sponsorship of their respective students in the World Cup event. The Federation is grateful for the interest and support from these organisations, and for their acknowledgement of the importance of chess in the development of the minds of our youths.