Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Dr Frank Anthony challenged the executive of the National Chess Federation to expand their activities into the schools while encouraging broad based participation across the country.
The Minister assured the executives that once they could facilitate such a process his Ministry would continue to render strong support to the programmes organized by the Federation and more particularly, the impending National Schools Championships.
Dr. Anthony made this commitment when the chess affiliates convened at the old Guyana National Service Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue, to facilitate the prize giving ceremony for the just concluded Neil and Massy National Junior and Senior Chess Championships.
The Minister congratulated the respective winners even as he urged them to focus on the acquisition of international accolades in the coming year. “While aspiring to lift your game at the local level you must also turn your focus on attaining international accolades,” said the Minister.
He said that even as he notes the hard work of the executive towards the development of the sport he nevertheless felt constrained to beseech all and sundry to aspire to greater achievements. “Next year I wish to see a much bigger tournament; one that encompasses wider participation,” Mr. Anthony exhorted. He said that his Ministry had a vested interest in the development of the sport at the level of the schools since it is at these institutions that the Ministry is pondering the employment of developmental strategies. “The schools are the backbone of our developmental plans so your focus in this area may inspire a larger input from our end,” the Minister explained.
He said that his Ministry is currently mulling the enactment of a workshop to explain the intricacies of the sport to the uninitiated. He said that such a move would compliment the efforts of local Federation demonstrated earlier in the year when several players managed to acquire prestigious FIDE ratings after competing among several top ranking players from within the Caribbean community. “This is but a small aspect of our plans for the development of chess,” the Minister concluded.
Earlier in the night, Tournament Director, Irshad Mohamed welcomed the gathering to the function even as he endorsed the importance of corporate assistance.
Mohamed said that the Federation may plan for all they care but these plans could be disrupted in the absence of corporate support. “As such we wish to profoundly thank the many sponsors that have acquiesced to our request for support,” said Mr. Mohamed.
President of the Federation Errol Tiwari dubbed the championships as the most important. He said that in his view the impending National Schools Championships is the only other tournament that may have the ability of overriding the national championships in terms of importance on the local federation’s calendar of activities.
Commenting on the general quality of the tournament Mr. Tiwari said, “It was keen rivalry and that was good for the sport. In the end the best man prevailed.” He further lauded eventual winner and new champion, Taffin Khan for the high quality of chess exhibited.
Khan defeated a field of worthwhile players to win the national Championships, deemed vacant after last year’s champion; Wendell Meusa was sanctioned and eventually striped of the title for uttering disparaging remarks about several executives. He was summoned before a disciplinary committee and instructed to present proof of his allegations or make a retraction. Meusa refused to do either and was stripped of the accolade.
Former national champion, Kriskal Persaud finished second in the senior championships while David Khan occupied the third place. Learie Webster and Frankie Farley finished 4th and 5th respectively.
Meanwhile, the junior players also received their respective prizes after competing in that championship earlier in the year. Ron Mootilall won that prize with Cecil Cox finishing in the second place. Suhai Feng sealed off the podium spots while Rashad Hussein won the fourth place prize.
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