President Ali donates $1M to Chess Federation


The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) gained a significant boost after President Dr. Irfaan Ali pledged $1M towards the development of the sport.

President Ali made the donation when he and some members of his cabinet hosted Grandmaster, Nigel Short MBE, at State House on Tuesday evening for 20 simultaneous exhibition matches against Guyanese.

Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley also attended the event, the GCF stated in a press release on Wednesday.

According to the GCF, Short praised the Federation for progress in advancing chess, noting that he sees potential for Guyanese players to eventually be on par with players from global powerhouses for the sport such as Russia.

He added that he also hopes to see Guyana become a “regional powerhouse” for the sport.

President Ali and members of his cabinet met with local chess players and the Grandmaster

Short takes on the best

Short, playing against chess players as young as nine years old to as old as 30, was completely engaged for the first two hours of the exhibition as Team Guyana fought valiantly to scratch out an advantage over the Grandmaster.

He played against former Open National Champion CM Taffin Khan, FM Anthony Drayton, Davion Mars, Roberto Neto, Ethan Lee, WCM Sheriffa Alli, Jessica Callender, Nellisha Johnson, 2022 National Women’s Champion Pooja Lam, 2022 Junior Champion Ricardo Narine, 2023 Under-14 Open Champion Kyle Couchman, 2023 U14 Girl’s Champion Anaya Lall, 2023 National U-12 Champion Aquilani Swaminadha, Keron Sandiford, Sasha Shariff, Micaiah Enoe, Ronan lee, Mayas Khan and siblings Alexander and Nicholas Zhang.

The Grandmaster took on 20 of Guyana’s best

Around 20:00 hrs, the pins sadly began to fall and it was all over by 21:00h, with the final capitulation by CM Taffin Khan.

The best game in the exhibition was against Anthony Drayton.

More than 100 chess enthusiasts and future champions were in attendance to observe the games, including students from several schools across Georgetown and special guests from the New Amsterdam Special School, who are part of the Federation’s Chess in Special Needs Schools programme.

Additionally, Short will visit several schools on Wednesday to educate students on the benefits of chess and the opportunities it offers.

These schools are Marian Academy, Queen’s College, School of the Nations, and St. Stanislaus College.

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