After several rounds of fierce competition, national deaf chess player, Anaya Lall, emerged undefeated at the Under-14 Chess Tournament held last Saturday at Queen’s College. The tournament which had Open and Girls categories was facilitated by Mobile Money Guyana (MMG+) and the Guyana Chess Federation.
The tournament saw participation from 17 schools: Queen’s College, Marian Academy, School of the Nations, Mae’s School, Bishop’s High, Richard Ishmael Secondary, Westfield Prep, Georgetown International Academy, St. Roses High, St. Joseph’s High, New Guyana School, Tuschen Deaf Academy, Wisburg Secondary, Academy of Excellence, Parfait Harmony Primary, St. Stanislaus College and Valmiki Vidyalaya Primary.
Emerging successful in the Girls Tournament was national deaf chess player Anaya Lall. She earned the Under14 Girls Chess Championship title. Lall amassed wins against Ciel Clement, Aditi Joshi, Atalya John, Kataleya Sam, Parnita Kishun, Jahzara Jackson before earning a half point in her final round due to a stalemate with Nemisha Jagmohan. It is worth mentioning that Lall is the youngest player to have ever qualified and represented Guyana at a FIDE Chess Olympiad, and also the only Guyanese to have competed in the World Chess Championship for People with Disabilities.
Kataleya Sam took home two trophies; one for second place in the Girls Championship and one for best U10 player. She finished on 6 points, with her only loss being against the champion.
Ciel Clement finish 3rd on 5 points. Nemisha Jagmohan was the 2nd place U10 while Chelsea Harrison won 3rd place in the U10.
In the Open segment, 13-year-old defending champion Kyle Couchman from Queen’s College emerged the victor with 6.5 points after 7 matches. Couchman who holds the 2022 National Open Under14 and Under16 titles, skillfully outmaneuvered his opponents once again, to come out ahead of 12 year old Alexander Zhang who earned the second place winner with 5.5 points of the same school while 13-year-old Micaiah Enoe of Marian Academy, placed third, also with 5.5 points.
While Alexander and Micaiah finished on the same points, Alexander was ranked higher due to the Buchholz tiebreak system, which takes into account the scores of the opponents that a player has defeated. The player with the highest total Buchholz score (highest sum of the scores of the opponents that player has defeated) is ranked higher.
An elated Couchman received the top trophy from Product Marketing Manager of mmg+, Diana Gittens, during a simple ceremony at the end of the game. Couchman said he aspires to go on to represent Guyana at the International level. He said, “I’m happy about winning because there were some really challenging points but I was able to get over it. My dream is to go on to represent Guyana at really big International tournaments”
Couchman managed to defeat Arush Ramnarine, Vivek Persaud, Ethen Pompey, Julian Mohabir and siblings Alexander and Nicholas Zhang. Notable performances from Ethan Thakurdin, Nicholas Zhang and Vivek Persaud who all finished on 5.5 points, and were given medals for fourth, fifth and sixth places.
Julian Mohabir won the trophy as the Best U10 player while Aquilani Swaminadha, who is notably this year’s Under 12 Open Champion earned the 2nd place U10 trophy.
Arush Ramnarine came in 3rd place among the U10, Landon Mohabir earned the Best U8 trophy while Vir Narine was 2nd place in the U8 and Lester Thomas was 3rd place in the U8 too.
President of the Guyana Chess Federation, Anand Raghunauth, said that the competition which had more than 70 participants was the largest the Federation has organized at the junior level.
“We had a serious competition and the winners were very skillful. We have 12 year old children challenging top junior players in a very competitive way. This is something new and it shows that our training program is working”.
Mr. Raghunauth said the GCF has made great strides in encouraging children across the country to engage in chess, adding that it is his hope that more schools will establish chess clubs as part of their extra-curricular activities.
Product Marketing Manager of mmg+ Diana Gittens said the partnership with the Federation is a part of the company’s commitment to youth development. Gittens said, “Chess is an important sport that plays a vital role in the cognitive development of children and young people and we are supporting the activities of the Chess Federation in promoting the game among youth.”
Gittens added that the company believes that the Guyana Chess Federation continues to underscore the importance of chess in teaching concentration, evaluation, patience and calculated risk taking. “It’s an honour to be associated with the development of this sport and its positive characteristics. This tournament indicates commitment to the game and we are immensely proud of all the young participants”.
Guyana Standard understands that the tournaments were supervised by FIDE Arbiter and Head of Development of the GCF John Lee, with assistance from National Arbiter Jessica Callender along with Roberto Neto, and CM Taffin Khan and FM Anthony Drayton.
All of the contestants received certificates of participation and tokens of appreciation from mmg+.