GUYANA CHESS FEDERATION (GCF)
Annual General Meeting
1ST NOVEMBER 2021
It is with much pleasure that I submit my President’s Report. This past year has been an eventful one, and I am grateful for the opportunity to thank you for your enthusiastic support of the Guyana Chess Federation during 2019-/2021. Over the past two years, we all unexpectedly faced many challenges as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. Since the last AGM, the Guyana Chess Federation was incorporated as a private Not for Profit company. This historic event set the foundation to build the critical organizational capacity to encourage the playing of chess in all ten regions of Guyana.
To say that the past two years was difficult is an understatement. However, the response to the COVID pandemic by the GCF membership is truly quite remarkable. As challenging and frustrating as it has been, all of you have been relentless in your commitment to find ways for our young players to play chess. You have had to continuously respond to the uncertainty and the constant changing of COVID safety protocols and mandates. It has required constant schedule adjustments, planning and re-planning. Despite the frustration and the obstacles, there were important silver linings for which we all should be proud. The pandemic has drove us to find cost effective solutions to play, learn and teach the game. What has evolved from this quest for solutions in this new normal is a cost effective platform for the playing and teaching of chess.
The GCF ratified its new constitution in June 2020. This constitution has been a work in progress since Mr. James Bond was the president of GCF, and yours truly a vice president. Mr. Bond and the entire past executive membership were instrumental in the drafting of this document. A key element of the new constitution is the right given to parent of players under the age of 18 to vote and represent their children in the shaping of policies for the GCF.
To comply with the GCF Constitution, this meeting is being held on the anniversary date of its incorporation. We are meeting in this environment to minimize the risk of our members contracting COVID-19.
At this time, 19 months into the pandemic, we do not know how much longer these restrictions will be in effect, and what impact they will have on the Federation’s events, functions and gatherings for the remainder of the year. One certainty is that we can all be very proud of everything we have achieved as a community throughout this challenging period.
I thank most sincerely the wonderful team of dedicated Committee members, parents and sponsors for working together to develop chess in Guyana. It has once again been a joy and honor to volunteer alongside you and represent the GCF at all opportunities that will add value. We are gradually building GCF Brand and Profile with people and organizations all across Guyana.
Thank you for your patience with the constant schedule changes, for the guidance you provide to your children, and for the input and ideas you have provided to all of us administrators. You all have had to make difficult decisions, personal and financial. Not surprisingly, you have made them wisely.
Your desire to advance your game has been evident by your participation in virtual training sessions and the enthusiasm you have shown for returning to over the board in a safe environment. The obvious improvement in your game over the past year stands proof of your commitment to excellence.
You have demonstrated extraordinary new levels of creativity in running chess training, both virtually and to a small extent over the board. Your dedication to safety has enabled players to return safely to over the board.
Your dedication to ensuring playing chess is adhering to established FIDE standards and regulations and your flexibility in responding to the new normal is highly appreciated. Special thanks to Mr. John Lee and all other arbiters for your steadfast dedication to uplifting the standards of play in Guyana.
Our strategy continues to position GCF to provide various platforms and opportunities for teaching and playing chess. We recognize that we are treading on a long road with a bold mission statement focusing on five pillars: Chess in school, women in chess, chess in the hinterland, collaboration with the diaspora and the formation of clubs all across Guyana. However, we believe that our core values along with your active participation will continually generate interest in teaching and playing chess.
The ecology of chess in Guyana is a mixture of players, clubs, organizers and coaches. Without the players there would be no need for clubs or organisers. Without the organisers, what events would the players participate in? Without the coaches, how would our juniors learn and
improve so quickly? Let me add to this list, the small group of titled players. Without them, who would we aspire to win against?
Chess in schools initiative
The aim of this initiative is to integrate chess as a part of school curriculum throughout Guyana. The route to this is to demonstrate through a measured study the educational value of playing chess. Discussion are currently on the way with the NSC and the Ministry of education to make this a reality. We should all give a special thank you to Mr. Anand Raghunauth and Mrs. Marcia Lee for making the chess in school program a home away from home for our children. We all are every grateful. The head of the CIS committee, Mr. Raghunauth will elaborate on the CIS program in his report.
Recognition of Chess as a Sport
We spent a good bit of time on this subject this year discussing the issue. This recognition is unlikely to happen soon, but we try to grab the mainly political opportunities in this area, when they arise. The new NSC board seems to understand the positive effect this recognition may have on especially young chess players and how the definition of sports mirrors many characteristic of playing chess.
Almost from the very start, it became clear that Maria Thomas would be unable to perform the duties of a committee member due to overseas commitments. We regretfully accepted her resignation but we gratefully acknowledge her contributions to this point. Ms Yolander Persaud was appointed as her replacement. Mr. Anand Raghunauth replaced Mr. Loris Nathoo who had resigned 31 Dec 2020 to pursue other personal commitments. Andre Jagnandan was appointed to deputize for our secretary Aneesa Maryam Hussain who is currently perusing studies at the University of Guyana.
Events held or cancelled
The CARIFTA CHESS Championships which was scheduled to be hosted in Guyana over the Easter Weekend in 2020 was postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The continued peril associated with the virus through out 2021 has so far precluded our attempts to host the event.
The Federation participated in the FIDE Youth and Cadets tournament between August 1 and 31st where the remarkable improvement of our junior players was on display for all to see.
A mixed team of seniors and juniors competed in the FIDE Online Olympiad 2021 with exceptional results.
The Federation will be represented for the first time in November in the FIDE Disability Tournament by 11 year old Anaya Lall.
Sincere thanks go to our sponsors; their continued support was again very welcomed. All sponsorship funds received from our sponsors goes straight back into the execution of GCF programs, whether for new equipment, coaching, tournaments and capacity building.
We intend to introduce three levels of coaching titles: School Instructor, Club Instructor and Academy Instructor.
Look to the Future
The single biggest way to impact GCF is to focus on our youth chess player’s development. No segment of our society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of our youth. The future of chess indeed looks great as the enthusiasm for chess has vastly increased as compared to over the years. Our players will be provided with a steady training program geared to improve their knowledge of chess so that they can become formidable opponents especially in an international arena.
Training programs will be rolled out where senior players who are interested, will be given the opportunity to coach students or adults who are now learning the game. These coaches will also be provided with opportunities to gain certified training qualifications which will benefit and enable them to conduct training sessions in a more efficient and effective manner.
Chess activities will be taken to more regions in Guyana so that both adults and children can have an opportunity to learn to play. Schools in the regions will be encouraged to create their own chess clubs, hold tournaments and conduct training sessions for its members. A regional body will also be formed to conduct training and tournaments.
Engaging all players in chess will be a constant goal of the GCF. Competition will be provided frequently in the form of online and over the board tournaments when permitted. Playing chess has many benefits to both adults and children: developing logical thinking, creativity and imagination, improving memory and concentration, to name a few. The GCF, by expanding its membership base within regions and schools, hope that these benefits will further contribute to the general overall thinking capabilities of our student and adult population in order to make them successful and motivated citizens.
Frankie Farley President