The Guyana Women in Chess Community’s (WICC) core goal is to close the gap in gender parity in the game. Great strides towards achieving this continued with a landmark event on Saturday, March 25, with the Jumbo Jet Auto Sales sponsored “Queen Side” Girls Chess Camp.
This one-day chess camp, organized by the WICC, is the first-ever girls-only chess camp hosted in the history of the Guyana Chess Federation and had an impressive turnout of nearly 50 women and girls.
The organization said in a statement that it believes that providing designated spaces exclusively for females can foster a sense of community and sisterhood, which in turn can contribute to the retention of girls in the sport for a more extended period.
The event held at Duke Lodge also provided up-and-coming players with a chance to learn chess tactics and advice from more experienced players in a relaxed and casual setting. This event exceeded expectations in terms of participation and engagement where over 40 girls under the age of 18 registered for the camp.
The younger girls were eager to learn, asking many questions and showing enthusiasm for the game throughout the camp.
The girls also had the chance to play against each other and receive feedback, with an emphasis on building confidence and developing skills in a supportive and friendly environment.
Snacks and juices donated by Topco were provided for the girls as they engaged each other in the game of chess.
Most of the experienced female chess players, WCM Sheriffa Ali, Anaya Lall, Italy Ton- Chung, Aniyah Couchman, Angel Rahim and Maliha Rajkumar were on hand to provide instruction and guidance to participants, covering basic chess tactics and strategies, and offering tips on how to improve their game.
Some of these remarkable young women also shared their experiences as chess players over the years.
Reigning National Women’s Champion Pooja Lam, former National Women’s Champion Sasha Shariff together with National Arbiter and a top female chess player, Jessica Callender also contributed, expressing their thoughts on chess and the many friendships gained after meeting other incredible players from other countries.
The Federation’s Company Secretary, Marcia Lee, who heads the Women in Chess Committee, welcomed the girls and encouraged more participation in chess competitions. She noted that by playing chess and working hard to improve, the girls can reap tremendous benefits in the future as opportunities arise for girls to move onto the international scene.
Mrs. Lee also stressed the need for more females to join the federation so that they too can enjoy the many benefits of chess and ultimately bridge the gender gap within the GCF.
It is worth noting that less than a decade ago, female chess players were a rarity. In the competitive arena, some local tournaments only saw a maximum of three to five female chess players. As such, the Women’s Committee was elated to see so many young girls in attendance who came to learn, play, and bond over the game of chess.
President of the Guyana Chess Federation, Anand Raghunauth noted that by encouraging women and girls in chess, with the emphasis on building communication and leadership skills, they can become great players, administrators and ambassadors of the sport.
Guyana Standard understands that this event was sponsored by Jumbo Jet Auto Sales, along with Sunshine Snacks, Nadeem Khan and Associates, and Banks DIH.