Couchman and Lall among top performers of GCF U-14 Chess competition
Kyle Couchman and Anaya Lall emerged male and female champions respectively at the weekend when the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) held its National Under-14 Chess tournament at the Queen’s College compound.
The Rapid tournament attracted over 70 competitors, the largest gathering of junior players ever assembled by the Federation. They were drawn from several schools.
Seven rounds of play were held under a time control of 20 minutes per player, with five seconds added to the clock after each move.
Thirteen-year-old Couchman of Queen’s College is the 2022 National Open Under-14 and Under-16 title holder and he proved his dominance once again, winning ahead of Alexander Zhang.
Couchman finished with 6.5 points after seven matches, while 12-year-old Zhang of Queen’s College took second with 5.5 points.
Micaiah Enoe, 13, of Marian Academy, placed third, also with 5.5 points.
“While Alexander and Micaiah finished on the same points, Alexander was ranked higher due to the Buchholz tie-break system, which takes into account the scores of the opponents that a player has defeated. The player with the highest total Buchholz score (highest sum of the scores of the opponents that player has defeated) is ranked higher,” the GCF explained.
Couchman said that he aspires to go on to represent Guyana at the International level.
“I’m happy about winning because there were some really challenging points, but I was able to get over it. My dream is to go on to represent Guyana at really big International tournaments,” he said.
Couchman managed to defeat Arush Ramnarine, Vivek Persaud, Ethen Pompey, Julian Mohabir and siblings Alexander and Nicholas Zhang, while playing to a draw against Enoe.
Notable performances came from Ethan Thakurdin, Nicholas Zhang and Vivek Persaud, who all finished on 5.5 points, and were given medals for finishing fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
In the Girls tournament, national deaf player Anaya Lall earned the Under-14 Girls Chess Championship title.
Lall amassed wins against Ciel Clement, Aditi Joshi, Atalya John, Kataleya Sam, Parnita Kishun and Jahzara Jackson before earning a half point in her final round due to a stalemate with Nemisha Jagmohan.
“It is worth mentioning that Lall is the youngest player to have ever qualified and represented Guyana at a FIDE Chess Olympiad, and also the only Guyanese to have competed in the World Chess Championship for People with Disabilities,” the GCF highlighted.
Meanwhile, Julian Mohabir won the trophy as the Best Under-10 player, while Aquilani Swaminadha, who is notably this year’s Under-12 Open Champion, earned the second place Under-10 trophy.
Arush Ramnarine was third place in the Under-10 category, while Landon Mohabir, Vir Narine and Lester Thomas copped 1-2-3 respectively in the Under-8 division.
Kataleya Sam took home two trophies- one for second place in the Girls Championship and one for best Under-10 player. She finished on six points, with her only loss being against the champion Lall. Ciel Clement finish third on five points.
Nemisha Jagmohan copped second in the Girls Under-10, while Chelsea Harrison was third.
President of the Guyana Chess Federation, Anand Raghunauth, was impressed by the large turnout and the level of competition on display during the one-day tournament.
“We had a serious competition and the winners were very skillful. We have 12-year-old children challenging top junior players in a very competitive way. This is something new and it shows that our training program is working”.
Raghunauth expressed that the GCF has made great strides in encouraging children across the country to engage in the game of Chess and it is the hope that more schools will come on board to establish Chess clubs as part of their extra-curricular activities.
He said that the GCF is focused on raising the quality of competition among children.
Girls especially are encouraged to participate and grow in strength and the GCF believes in training the younger generation to be involved in the sport at every level so that the intangible benefits of Chess will be realised as more involvement can only result in the greater good for future generations.
The tournament was supervised by FIDE Arbiter and Head of Development of the GCF John Lee, with assistance from National Arbiter Jessica Callender, along with Roberto Neto, CM Taffin Khan and FM Anthony Drayton.
The tournaments saw participation from students of Queen’s College, Marian Academy, School of the Nations, Mae’s School, Bishops’ High, Richard Ishmael Secondary, Westfield Prep, Georgetown International Academy, St. Roses High, St. Joseph’s High, New Guyana School, Tuschen Deaf Academy, Wisburg Secondary, Academy of Excellence, Parfaite Harmonie Primary, St. Stanislaus College and Valmiki Vidyalaya Primary.
The tournament was sponsored by Mobile Money Guyana. All the participants received certificates of participation and tokens of appreciation from the sponsor.
Product Marketing Manager of Mobile Money Guyana Diana Gittens said that the partnership with the Federation is a part of the company’s commitment to youth development.
“Chess is an important sport that plays a vital role in the cognitive development of children and young people and we are supporting the activities of the Chess Federation in promoting the game among youth.”
Gittens added that the company believes that the GCF continues to underscore the importance of Chess in teaching concentration, evaluation, patience and calculated risk-taking.
“It’s an honour to be associated with the development of this sport and its positive characteristics. This tournament indicates commitment to the game and we are immensely proud of all the young participants.”