Guyana marks impressive performance at 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad


The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai finally concluded on August 9, having seen the largest number of participants than ever before in the biennial event.

Anthony Drayton at the 44th Chess Olympiad 

Guyana’s female team, led by 14-year-old Women’s Champion Pooja Lam, defeated four teams: Laos, Central African Republic, Timor-Leste and Libya, while they drew with Oman to raise their International ranking 16 places up from number 136 to number 120 in the world.

Deaf player Anaya Lall at the 44th Chess Olympiad

Twelve-year-old deaf player Anaya Lall was most impressive in the final round against Libya, defeating 1836 rated player WFM Khuloud El Flow. This is the highest rated opponent young Anaya has ever defeated, earning the young lady her first FIDE rating.

Jessica Callender drew her final match with WFM Khadija Elfelo (1875), while Pooja Lam and Sasha Shariff also defeated their Libyan opponents Alrais and Albudwi respectively.

The team triumphantly finished third in the Group E category. The Women’s team was captained by Slovenian GM Georg Mohr, with top players Jessica Callender and Sasha Shariff finishing on 5.5 points each from 10 games.

Pooja Lam and Anaya Lall finished on three points each, while Nellisha Johnson earned 1.5 points. On the Open side, Guyana moved up from number 152 to number 148 with a total of four team wins against Seychelles, Gabon, Brunei Darussalam and Burundi.

Guyana’s Open Team, captained by Davion Mars, is now ranked fifth out of the Caribbean chess teams.

The Open team lost the final round of the tournament, 2.5 – 1.5 in favour of Haiti. FM Anthony Drayton won against Jude Guillaume, while CM Taffin Khan drew with his Haitian counterpart FM Marckens Jean Louis.

Jessica Callender at the 44th Chess Olympiad
Sasha Shariff at the 44th Chess Olympiad

FM Anthony Drayton made the most wins for Guyana’s men, finishing on 5.5 points after playing nine rounds.

This was followed by CM Taffin Khan with 4.5 points from 11 games; Loris Nathoo and Ethan Lee both with three points and Roberto Neto scoring 2.5 points for Guyana. Both the Open and Women’s team finished on 18.5 points.

“It was an all-round successful tournament for the Guyana Chess Olympiad team with increased rating points for players, improved rankings and two new Conditional WCMs in Shariff and Callender,” the Guyana Chess Federation said.

“The Board of Directors of the Guyana Chess Federation wishes to thank and congratulate the team for their excellent performances as well as all the individuals who contributed to the success of the trip. Special thanks to the Government of Guyana and all our local sponsors who made this event possible as well as to FIDE and the AICF Organising Committee. The GCF is very appreciative of all the support and assistance received towards our chess players.”

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