Chess players delighted to gain Candidate Master status  


By Avenash Ramzan


National chess players Wendell Meusa, Taffin Khan and Maria Thomas have expressed delight at being granted Candidate Master (CM) status by the world governing body, Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), following their participation in the just concluded Sub-Zonal tournament in Barbados.


Reigning senior national champion Meusa, former national senior and junior champion Khan, and female player Thomas were conferred with the title after churning out exceptional performances for Guyana.


The trio, along with Jessica Clementson, Julia Clementson and Yolander Persaud, represented Guyana at the event.


The Guyanese were pitted against much stronger players from 11 other countries, namely host Barbados, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and Venezuela.


Muesa said it was his aim from the inception to gain the title, adding “we actually went over there to gain these titles, and we did achieve that. So this now is stepping stone to the other achievements because I think we can continue to do fairly well [on the international stage],”.


Meusa divulged that the tournament was “extremely tough”, and the margin for error was very slim, noting that the Guyanese players had to bring their “A” game.


Thomas, who now has the distinction of being the first female CM in Guyana, said she is thrilled by the accomplishment, and she hopes it will prompt more females to play the sport competitively in the country.


“Yes, I would love for more girls to play the sport, especially those in schools, because chess will help them to concentrate more and it will help them in their studies,” Thomas reckoned.


Khan told the News Room Sports that it feels “great” to have the title of CM to his name, and he will be working assiduously to move up the ranks, and ultimately become a Grand Master.


Meanwhile, according to president of the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF), Irshad Mohamed, FIDE would usually host the Sub-Zonal competitions to allow countries which fall within a particular zone to put forward representatives to compete.


At these tournaments, players, depending on their performances, can achieve various titles, including CM, FIDE Master, International Master and Grand Master.


Commenting on the achievements of the three players, Mohamed said it is indeed a great honour for the country as a whole, and chess in particular. Meusa, Khan and Thomas have now joined Anthony Drayton and Ronuel Greenidge as the local players who hold CM title. Drayton and Greenidge were bestowed with the title about two years ago.


“Over the years, the different tournaments that we were able to have would have been some of the motivation behind having players to achieve titles,” Mohamed said.


The GCF also heaped praises on Meusa, who is also the national coach and a FIDE Development Instructor, for his role during the last Olympiad when he was able to work directly with the players and help them to improve their game.


“And he is one of the most instrumental persons in this whole process of players achieving Candidate Masters because he worked very vigorously to get them to achieve that title. I always believe credit must be given to him for the work he has done so far,” Mohamed acknowledged.


Mohamed is now hoping that these CM’s will utilise their expertise to mould the next generation of FIDE accredited players to come out of Guyana.


CAPTION: Candidate Masters! From left: Taffin Khan, Maria Thomas and Wendell Meusa

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