Chess Federation refutes allegations
The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) refutes the allegations made against it by Mr. Wendell Meusa, and which were carried in the Tuesday, March 16 edition of the Kaieteur News headlined ‘National Chess Champion at odds with executive of local federation.’
Mr Meusa has accused the GCF of demonstrating preference to certain favoured players in the allocation of colours during tournaments. He further alleges that the Tournament Director gives the White pieces to some players, when in fact they should be playing with the Black pieces. The player with the White pieces makes the first move, and it is felt he begins with an infinitesimal advantage in the game.
Mr Meusa is contending that he is not within the selective group who enjoy such privileges from the Tournament Director and has been quoted as saying: “This type of behaviour is tantamount to corruption and I would have nothing to do with it”. Here are the facts in relation to the distribution of colours for Mr Meusa during the past two tournaments staged this year.
Trophy Stall Chess Tournament:
No. of Games: Seven.
Colours played by Mr Meusa: Four Whites, and Three Blacks.
Mr Meusa played the White pieces against Taffin Khan and lost.
Topco Juice Mashramani Chess Tournament:
No. of Games: Eight.
Colours played by Mr Meusa: Four Whites and Four Blacks.
Mr Meusa played the White pieces against Mr Michael Perreira and lost. He played the White pieces against Mr Shiv Nandalall and drew. He played the Black pieces against Taffin Khan and lost. These are the undisputed facts.
The pairings of players in chess tournaments worldwide are done by computers, not manually. Therefore, Tournament Director Mr. Irshad Mohammed has absolutely no control over the pairings nor who plays the White pieces in juxtaposition to who plays the Black. We use the identical programme for pairings that is being used by other Chess Federations worldwide.
Since Mr Meusa is complaining publicly about the unfair practices of the distribution of colours, and he is of the considered opinion that he has been unfairly singled out, and individually targeted, he may wish to bring his case officially to the GCF, and we would request that the Federation Internationale des Echecs investigate his complaint.
Mr Meusa is a strong and notably sharp chess player, but he has failed in his efforts to win a tournament since he captured the National Championships last year. Obviously, the competition is improving.
It is an individual’s privilege to comment on any issue which he considers should be voiced, but it is disappointing that Mr. Meusa chose to tell the nation that senior chess players consume alcohol beverages and smoke cigarettes during chess tournaments, at tournament venues. This is not true. Alcohol is certainly not a friend of chess, since it dulls a person’s thinking processes. The consumption of the product along with smoking in the playing hall during a tournament, are outlawed by the GCF. However, the Executive Committee and some other members of the Federation cannot recall an instance whereby a player was observed consuming alcohol and/or smoking in a playing hall. I am left to assume that Mr Meusa, naturally, has information to the contrary, and the GCF would stand corrected if he would provide the required information to its members. I can assure Mr Meusa, that the perpetrators of such ignominious acts, if he can pinpoint them for us, would be disciplined by the Federation.
The GCF is of the view that reporter Mr. Michael Benjamin made an error when he wrote, “Mohammed said that he had noted some players consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes in the playing room. He said that this was done out of ignorance and not in blatant contravention of the rules.” Mr. Mohammed has denied making such a statement. Mr Benjamin, on the other hand, comes often to give us coverage in tournaments, and he has never indicated to us that he once observed alcohol being consumed in the playing hall. Anyway, Mr. Benjamin has admitted there has been an error, and we in the GCF believe it must have been the work of the ‘printer’s devil.’ It happens to all of us sometimes.
The GCF is a family-oriented organization. During tournaments some parents accompany their kids and wait for them until they are finished playing. Mr Meusa himself is regularly accompanied by a number of his family members who take pride in watching him play. For the GCF and its members, chess is more than just a sport. It has a relationship to intellectual development and art.
Just before Mr Meusa’s comments about the GCF were published, he was asked to attend a meeting of the Executive body to discuss a personal matter of repaying the Federation for some tickets for which monies were outstanding. During December 2009, the GCF held a Fun Day and Chess Fair and members were requested to sell tickets for the event. Mr Meusa did not show up for the meeting, and the Executive was not afforded the opportunity of discussing and negotiating an easy payment plan with him. The GCF also lost the opportunity of discussing the renewal of Mr Meusa’s membership for 2010 with the Federation.
The purpose of having a Guyana Chess Federation is to develop the game locally, and to promote the playing of chess as widely as possible, and as far as we can go. A few dedicated persons have committed themselves to this effort, which they believe would in turn be rewarding to the entire society. A number of sponsors have come forward to assist us in what we are doing. We are strong, and remain committed towards helping others to play the game of chess.
The President Guyana Chess Federation