NEWS for Caribbean chess; Guyana is soon to reappear as an
active regional competitor. Once the leading chess-playing
country among West Indian states, Guyana virtually disappeared
from the international chess map when its economy plummeted
disastrously in the 80s. Now, thanks to the initiative recently
taken by Allan Herbert, FIDE CACDEC Chairman, Guyana is reorganizing
its chess plalying energies for a strong return to the regional
A few weeks ago, Herbert, who is stationed in Barbados, spent
two days in Guyana on a successful chess revival mission.
In pursuit of this objective, he held discussions with Minister
of Sport Dr Frank Anthony, President of the Guyana Olympic
Association K.A. Juman-Yassin and members of the local chess
Commenting on his effort, Herbert explained that it ensued
from the recent initiative announced by FIDE President Kirsan
Ilyumzhinov to expand the sport of chess in those countries
which are currently not affiliated to the world chess body.
He observed that the absence of Guyana from chess represents
a major void making the English-speaking Caribbean
the only area in the Americas having countries not affiliated
In the 1970s, however, Guyana led the sport in the area. The
country competed in two Olympiads - Buenos Aries in 1978 and
Valetta in 1980 - and hosted a major Caribbean Championship
tournament which was won by Cuba.
The records show that Guyana performed creditably at both
these Olympiads which led to th countrys top player
at the time, Maurice Broomes, earning an international rating
Meeting with officers of the Guyana Olympic Association, Herbert
expounded on plans to work with the local chess community
to revive the Guyana Chess Federation and have it affiliated
to the Association. President Juman-Yassin saw no obstacle
to affiliation of the GCF once the body was properly reconstituted
and recognized by FIDE.
Herbert also reported on two meetings with Sports Minister
Anthony at which a number of joint initiatives were discussed.
The Minister expressed great interest in establishing a Chess-in-Schools
programme and committed his ministry to providing the trophies
for a schools championship tournament. On behalf of FIDE,
Herbert pledged to donate 200 chess sets to facilitate the
launch of the programme.
Minister Anthony also agreed to make available to the GCF
a facility in the Sports Hall which could be used for practice
by players as well as hosting major chess tournaments. The
first of such events will be an international tournament which
will see six of Guyanas top players vying for their
Through CACDEC Development Funds, Herbert agreed to cover
the travel cost of four FIDE-rated players from within the
region to this contest which will see international chess
return to Guyana for the first time in more than 20 years.
To revive the GCF, Minister Anthony agreed to use his office
to convene a general meeting of all former members and interested
parties to elect a new executive.
Herbert also met with the Guyana Teachers Union seeking
its support for coordinating a Chess-in-Schools seminar for
teachers which was organised by the GCF in a short space of
Let us hope that all these initiatives will come quickly to
fruition and that by next year Guyana will be, once again,
a vigorous competitor in the regional and international chess
arenas. Hopefully, the Caribbean championships can then be