Chess in Grenada has received a significant boost with the recent visit of Grandmaster Nigel Short, MBE, one of the most celebrated British players.
Grandmaster Short left Grenada over the weekend, following a four-day visit ‘spreading the gospel of Chess’.
A world championship finalist in 1993, and once ranked No 3 in the world, Grandmaster Short has been playing Chess for over 48 years.
In a packed four-day programme from February 26 to March 2, Grandmaster Short participated in the launch of the first ever Grenada Chess Federation on February 28 where he spoke and also played simultaneous exhibition matches against 25 players (earning 24 wins/1 draw).
He also met with students of three (3) secondary schools and also engaged the Minister of Sports, Norland Cox at a luncheon meeting and participated in four (4) radio and television interviews.
The topline Chess player visited the National Cricket Stadium on February 27 to witness England defeat the West Indies in an exciting ODI match, during which he met and had exchanges with several government ministers including the Minister of Education, Emmalin Pierre and Minister of Youth, Kate Lewis.
Grandmaster Short also used the opportunity of the visit to Grenada to highlight the importance of chess in schools and among youth in communities.
He met at the GBSS Auditorium on March 1 with over 100 students from Presentation Brothers College (PBC), Boca Secondary School (BSS) and Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), who play or have an interest in playing chess.
Grandmaster Short shared the benefits of the game in developing the mind and his own rich experiences as an international player.
Noting that success only comes with hard work, he urged the students to take the game seriously, so that they too can compete in the international arena.
Grandmaster Short was very encouraged by the meeting with Minister of Sports Senator Norland Cox who expressed full support for the chess initiatives being undertaken in Grenada and examined possible areas of co-operation with the FIDE (World Chess Federation) including training, provision of chess boards, and participation in international competitions.
Grandmaster Short is a Vice-President of FIDE.
On March 2, Grandmaster Short left for St Vincent & the Grenadines on the 2nd leg of his mission to promote Chess. He is also expected to visit St.Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and the Cayman Islands.
As a result of the visit, Grenada now has in place a national body to promote Chess.
The Grenada Chess Federation (GCF) was established by unanimous resolution and launched on February 28 at a special meeting of over forty (40) chess enthusiasts at the Grenada Olympic House at Morne Rouge, St George’s.
An Interim Council has been established to undertake the work of the GCF until the first Annual General Meeting scheduled for May 16, when a constitution will be adopted and a formal executive elected.
The 14 member Interim Council comprises Ruggles Ferguson, Carlyle Glean Jr, Terrence Smith, Kwebena Amen, Carlton Lendore, Jesse Green, Gennard Roberts, Allister Charles, Gregory Renwick, Justin Pierre, KinnaMarrast-Victor, Lincoln Bartholomew, George Joseph and Terrance Slocombe.
Critical tasks of the GCF include promoting chess in schools – both primary and secondary – and in communities; organising national and other competitions; becoming a member of the World Chess Federation; and securing assistance for the widespread development of Chess throughout Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
The GCF targets a membership of 100 by the May 16th AGM.
President of the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC), Royston La Hee, who delivered brief remarks at Thursday’s meeting, welcomed the initiative taken to form a Grenada Chess Federation and pledged the support of the GOC.
Last Thursday’s gathering culminated with Grandmaster Short taking on 25 chess players, simultaneously, in exhibition matches. He won 24 matches and drew one against Jesse Green, a teacher at St Joseph Convent, St. George’s.
Addressing the meeting before the exhibition matches, Grandmaster Short extolled the virtues of Chess, describing it as “the ultimate mind game…nearly infinite in its complexity”.
Once considered a game for aristicrots, it has now become “a game for everyone” with millions playing worldwide, Grandmaster Short noted.
A total of 189 countries are now members of FIDE, making it one of the largest sporting bodies in the world.