National senior chess champion, Wendell Meusa, former national junior and senior champion, Taffin Khan and female player, Maria Thomas successfully attained the Candidate Master (CM) status following diligent performances at the Sub-Zonal tournament which recently concluded in Barbados.
The trio, along with Jessica Clementson, Julia Clementson and Yolander Persaud represented Guyana at the event and now join former junior and senior champion, Anthony Drayton and Ronuel Greenidge as the other local players to have had such honours conferred upon them. Drayton and Greenidge clinched the accolade about two years ago.
Reports out of Barbados state that the Guyanese players were pitted against much stronger players from 11 other countries, host Barbados, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and Venezuela, yet they held their own.
President of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF), Irshad Mohamed, explained that FIDE would usually host the Sub-Zonal competitions to allow countries which fall within a particular zone to field competent representatives. He said that at these tournaments, players, depending on their performances, can achieve various titles, including CM, FIDE Master, International Master and Grand Master.
Mohamed noted that those achievements are indeed a great honour for the country and chess in particular. ”Domestic and other international tournaments over the years could be responsible for their improved performances and the acquisition of such prestigious awards,” Mohamed said.
The GCF boss also heaped praises on Meusa, who is also the national coach and a FIDE Development Instructor, for his role during the last Olympiad where he worked directly with the players and facilitated improvement in their techniques.
“(Wendell) is one of the most instrumental persons in this whole process of players achieving Candidate Masters because he worked vigorously to help them to improve on their strategies,” said Mohamed. He said that he always believe in according credit where it is due and full credit must be given to Meusa for his input in the players’ improvement.
A proud Meusa said that it was the aim of the entire team to achieve the title, noting that it is a great achievement for the players personally, and Guyana as a whole. Those players that represented Guyana at the tournament are Meusa, Khan, Thomas, Jessica Clementson and Yolander Persaud.
Meanwhile, Mr. Meusa joined with Mr. Mohamed and expressed sincere gratitude to corporate citizens, Caribbean Container Inc, Barbados Chess Federation, Gentle Elias and Chitra Samaroo for their input which made the Barbados trip possible.
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