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Meet the Guyana chess Olympiad team members

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The 42nd Chess Olympiad will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, next month and Guyana is expected to be well represented. The Guyana Chess Federation has named a strong 11-member team to represent the country at the event. News Room presents the profiles of the Guyanese players.

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Anthony Drayton 

Anthony Drayton, 22, is currently Guyana’s number one player, with a Candidate Master’s title earned in the 41st Chess Olympiad in 2014. This ambitious player has a rating of 1947 and has represented Guyana in many international tournaments, including the 41st Chess Olympiad, the UMADA Cup Challenger. He has also made his mark in local tournaments like the Mike’s Pharmacy one-day rapid tournament, playing unbeaten with 6.5 points out of 7.

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Taffin Khan

Taffin David Khan, 23, is one of Guyana’s most decorated players with a rating of 1861. He started playing in 2007 and then won the National Junior Championships one year later. He later won the National Senior Championships in 2010 and maintained his title until 2012. He represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games and also participated in many local tournaments, most of which he played unbeaten. This includes the Trophy Stall Tournament this year in which he placed first, and the E.C.I Tournament, where he tied for first place. This year he also won the title of Candidate Master (CM) as a result of his participation in the 2.3.6 Sub-Zonal Tournament.

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Roberto Neto

Roberto Neto, 19, is an ambitious and cultivated player who has earned a rating of 1557. He started playing chess in 2010 and after some practice he was able to defeat the senior champion in 2012. One year later the 2013 Junior Champion suffered the same fate after facing off with Neto. He was also awarded the title of Best Unrated Player for his participation in the UMADA Cup that same year. He also represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games, where the team placed second overall.

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Haifeng Su

Haifeng Su, 21, is a very competitive player with the rating of 1775. In 2010, he entered his first tournament and placed second in the junior category. Later that year he placed third in the National Junior Championships and represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games. In 2011, he won first place in the Individual category in the Inter-School Championships. He also won the National Junior Championships and participated in the 2011 UMADA Cup and the Suriname Open Championships. He placed third in the Open category in the UMADA Cup 2012 and placed second in National Junior Chess Championship. He also played in Inter-Guiana Games and the Inter-School Chess Championship, where he placed first, along with his team from Nations Sixth Form. He also placed third in the Sagicor 2013 Championship and fourth in the Barbados National Junior Championship Qualifiers. Once again, he represented Guyana in I.G.G. and reclaimed his title as the National Junior Champion. He also represented Guyana in the 41st Chess Olympiad held in Norway. He once again played in the UMADA Cup in 2014, where he tied at sixth place.

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Ronuel Greenidge

Ronuel Greenidge, 33, a skillful player who has garnered a rating of 1725 over the years. He has also represented Guyana internationally at the 41st Chess Olympiad, where he earned the title of Candidate Master. In 2007, he won four of the local tournaments he participated in and placed fourth in the National Senior Championships. The following year he won the Qualifiers for Nationals and went on to place second in the Senior Championships. In 2009, he placed fifth in the Qualifiers and maintained his position as second in the National Senior Championships. In 2010, he placed third in the qualifying tournament for Guyana’s First FIDE Rated Tournament, where he placed sixth. He also secured the third spot in the 2012 Red Cherry Ladder Tournament. After his participation in the Olympiad, he played in the 2014 UMADA Cup held in Guyana, where he placed 12th out of 30. Earlier this year, he has placed third in Mike’s Pharmacy Rapid Tournament. Even though he has made a mark in chess, he has not been able to play as often due his academic pursuits in Civil Engineering.

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Maria Varona Thomas

Maria Varona Thomas, 47, is one of Guyana’s most proficient female players, with a rating of 1790.  She was introduced into the game at the tender age of nine in Cuba, where she grew up. After playing in her home country for some years, she migrated to Guyana. She participated in many local tournaments afterwards. After a hiatus from the sport, she returned to the game in 2011. In 2012, she played in the UMADA Cup in Suriname. She also represented Guyana in the 41st Chess Olympiad and later on in the 2014 UMADA Cup held in Guyana. This year she has played in three local tournaments this year, which includes Mike’s Pharmacy Rapid Tournament. She also won the title of Womens’ Candidate Master (WCM) in the 2.3.5 Sub-Zonal Tournament in Barbados.

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Jessica Clementson

Jessica Clementson, 20, is one of Guyana’s most decorated female players and was introduced into the game in 2009. The next year she participated in the Royal Chess Academy Chess Championship, where she won the title of Best Female. She also has experience teaching underprivileged children of Albouystown at the RCA. The following year she represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games and participated in the Sagicor U-16 Open Tournament, where she secured the award for Best Female. Later that year she represented her School of the Nations in the Inter-School Championships, where they placed first in the team category and she also won the award for Best Female. She also founded the U-Knighted Chess Club at the School of the Nations, where she continued to teach young students. In 2013, she once again represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games, placing second, and played in the Sagicor U-20 Open Tournament. In 2014, she represented Guyana for the last time in the Inter-Guiana Games, where they secured second place. She was also a participant in the 2014 UMADA Cup and the National Junior Qualifiers. Most recently she has expanded her organisation to the U-Knighted Chess Institute. She earned her rating in the SCL Rated Tournament in Barbados and boosted it to 1281 after her participation in the 2.3.5 Sub-Zonal Tournament. She has also volunteered as an arbiter for the Massy Primary Inter-School Championships in Barbados.

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Yolander Persaud

Yolander Persaud, 25, learnt to play during her early years of about age six. She was awarded the Best Female Player in Trinidad and Tobago’s 22nd F.W. De Verteuil Memorial Open Chess Tournament in 2014, the Most Outstanding Junior Chess Player in 2007 from the Guyana Chess Federation, the Most Outstanding Junior Player in 2005 from the Queens College Chess Club. She accompanied the Guyana National Team to the Olympiad hosted in Norway, where she attended the Instructors’ Seminars and the Arbiter’s Seminars. There she obtained a Developmental Instructor’s license and was also awarded the title of FIDE Arbiter after successfully sitting the exam.

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Sheriffa Ali

Sheriffa Ali, 17, is an accomplished female junior. She played in her first tournament in 2007 and competed in several local tournaments. She is no stranger to team tournaments and has represented Guyana in the Inter-Guiana Games multiple times from 2011-2014. In 2014, she has received chess training from an International Master. After taking a break to focus on her studies, she had rekindled her passion and is a participant in the Andrew Art Memorial Rated Tournament.

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Julia Clementson

Julia Clementson, 17, was introduced to chess in 2009 along with her sister. That same year she participated in her first local tournament hosted by the Guyana Chess Federation. She also played in her second local tournament the following year. After the expansion of the U-Knighted Chess Institute, she began to teach students of School of the Nations as a service project, while managing her duties as the Multimedia coordinator. In April she also participated in the 2.3.5 Sub-Zonal Tournament. Recently, she placed third in the Barbados U-18 Championships.

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Wendell Meusa

Wendell Meusa, 27, is one of the most experienced members of the team. Apart from his obvious skills on the chess board, he is also a qualified coach. While he is the current national chess coach of Guyana and the national chess instructor of the World Chess Federation, Meusa also served as assistant chess coach of the Barbados National Sports Council, beginner’s chess coach of Barbados Primary and Secondary Chess Association and chess instructor of the American University of Peace Studies. Among Meusa’s titles are Guyana senior champion, Barbados junior champion, FIDE national instructor of Norway and FIDE Candidate Master of Barbados.

 

Cover photo caption: From left: CM Ronuel Greenidge CM Anthony Drayton CM and Coach Wendell Muesa President Irshad Mohamad, Roberto Neto, Haifeng Su, Yolander Persaud, Sheriffa Ali and CM Taffin Khan. Missing from Photo Female team member Jessica Clementson and Julia Clementson.

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