GCF unveils packed weekend for chess players

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The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) will be hosting two tournaments this weekend. For the first time in its history, GCF has organised the Guyana’s Female National Chess Championships.

The event is slated to start on Saturday (April 21) at the Guyana National Resource Center, opposite Passport Office and Government Technical Institute.

The prestigious event will be played as a six-round tournament with a time control of one hour sudden death. The top five finishers will be eligible for the Guyana Female National Team that will be representing the country from September 22 to October 1 at the 2018 World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

As planned, this is the federation first step towards the development of Women in Chess in Guyana. The federation is aiming to increase the total number of females who play chess in Guyana and provide them with the countless opportunities associated with the game.

Tournament favourite will be Guyana’s first FIDE Master and the country’s highest rated female WFM Maria Thomas, who is vastly experienced and has been ramping with the top five players of Guyana for the last five years.

Also participating in this event is Guyana’s only female Candidate Master Sheriffa Ali, who was part of the female National Team at the last World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

She will be battling FIDE Developmental Coach and local lawyer Yolander Persaud, who was also part of the last female team in Baku. There will also be the more experienced Shazeeda Rahim fighting for her place in the National Female Team.

However, young rising stars such as 12-year-old Chelsea Juma of St. Stanislaus College and 14-year-old Sasha Shariff will be looking to upstage the more seasoned players.

Sasha has been playing chess competitively so far this year, participating in the National Juniors Qualifiers and qualifying for the Guyana National Junior Chess Championships.

Both Juma and Shariff just returned from the seventh Carifta Chess Championships where Guyana was represented for the first time in its chess history.

Also, a keen eye will be kept for the Johnson’s sisters Nellisha and Waveney. Nellisha also participated in the National Juniors Qualifiers and qualified for the Guyana National Junior Chess Championships and Carifta Chess Championships.

Other players to watch are Cassandra Khan, Sharara Gill and hopefully the return of the Clementson sisters, Jessica and Julia.

While the women will be clashing, GCF will also host the Georgetown Chess Classics concurrently. This event will be organised in the various regions across Guyana, but begins in Georgetown this weekend.

Top male players Anthony Drayton, Taffin Khan, Loris Nathoo, Ronuel Greenidge are expected to participate as they prepare for the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

The Georgetown Chess Classics is set to bring some riveting actions on the chessboards since other players such as Davion Mars, Glenford Corlette, Chino Chung, Roberto Neto, Saeed Ali and veteran Errol Tiwari will be looking to defeat the players of the elected national team.

Registration fee per player is G$1,000 and interested persons can contact Tournament Director Irshad Mohammed on 664-1650 or Tournament Assistant Anthony Drayton on 613-2083.

Rounds will begin at 10:00h on both days and all games will be played in accordance to FIDE (World Chess Federation) rules and regulations.

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