Women in Chess Community hosts ground-breaking ‘Queen Side’ Chess Camp

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The core goal of the Guyana Women in Chess Community (WICC) is to close the gap in gender parity in the game.

And great strides towards achieving this continued at the weekend with a landmark event, dubbed ‘Queen Side’ Girls Chess Camp, sponsored by Jumbo Jet Auto Sales.

The one-day chess camp, organised by the WICC, was the first-ever girls-only chess camp hosted in the history of the Guyana Chess Federation and had an impressive turnout of nearly 50 women and girls.

“We believe that providing designated spaces exclusively for females can foster a sense of community and sisterhood, which in turn can contribute to the retention of girls in the sport for a more extended period,” the WICC said via a release from the Guyana Chess Federation.

The event, held at Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown, provided up-and-coming players with a chance to learn chess tactics and advice from more experienced players in a relaxed and casual setting.

Members of the Women in Chess Community

“This event exceeded expectations in terms of participation and engagement where over 40 girls under the age of 18 registered for the camp. The younger girls were eager to learn, asking many questions and showing enthusiasm for the game throughout the camp,” the release added.

It continued, “The girls also had the chance to play against each other and receive feedback, with an emphasis on building confidence and developing skills in a supportive and friendly environment. Snacks and juices, donated by Topco, were provided for the girls as they engaged each other in the game of chess.”

Most of the experienced female chess players- WCM Sheriffa Ali, Anaya Lall, Italy Ton-Chung, Aniyah Couchman, Angel Rahim and Maliha Rajkumar- were on hand to provide instruction and guidance to participants, covering basic chess tactics and strategies, and offering tips on how to improve their game.

Some of these remarkable young women also shared their experiences as chess players over the years.

Reigning National Women’s Champion Pooja Lam, former National Women’s Champion Sasha Shariff, together with National Arbiter and a top female chess player, Jessica Callender also contributed, expressing their thoughts on chess and the many friendships gained after meeting other incredible players from other countries.

Players focused on the board

The Federation’s Company Secretary, Marcia Lee, who heads the Women in Chess Committee, welcomed the girls and encouraged more participation in chess competitions.

She noted that by playing chess and working hard to improve, the girls can reap tremendous benefits in the future as opportunities arise for girls to move onto the international scene.

Lee also stressed the need for more females to join the federation so that they too can enjoy the many benefits of chess and ultimately bridge the gender gap within the GCF.

“It is worth noting that less than a decade ago, female chess players were a rarity,” the release highlighted.

“In the competitive arena, some local tournaments only saw a maximum of three to five female chess players.”

As such, the Women’s Committee was elated to see so many young girls in attendance who came to learn, play and bond over the game of chess.

President of the Guyana Chess Federation, Anand Raghunauth noted that by encouraging women and girls in chess, with the emphasis on building communication and leadership skills, they can become great players, administrators and ambassadors of the sport.

This event was sponsored by Jumbo Jet Auto Sales, along with Sunshine Snacks, Nadeem Khan and Associates, and Banks DIH Limited. The participants were provided with snacks and beverages for an afternoon of fun in chess and social development.

The Guyana Chess Federation also extends sincere gratitude to the management of Duke Lodge for providing the use of the venue and Prabha Persaud-Kissoon for sponsoring the WICC banner.

“Special thanks are extended for seeing the value in what we strive to achieve and for supporting us as we forge ahead,” the release concluded.

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