Last update: 11-Dec-2013 5:04 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T youths defeat Cuban GMs
Three of T&T’s bright young chessplayers made sporting history on Sunday when they defeated two leading Grandmasters (GM) from Cuba at simultaneous exhibitions held at RHAND Credit Union building in Port-of-Spain. National junior champion Joshua Johnson and CAC gold medallist Joseph Gill outplayed former Cuban champion Reinaldo Vera, while Kevin Cupid, former under-18 champion, got the better of Manuel Perez, former vice champion of Cuba. Notable performances also came from former national champion Arnold Fortune and youngsters Keevin James and Dev Soondarsingh who held the GMs to draws. A total of 27 players took part in the exhibitions, which followed a breakfast function between executive members of the T&T Chess Association and the visiting GMs at which measures for developing the sport in T&T were discussed.
The gritty, hard fought draw gained by Fortune, 75, against GM Vera was special, since it was his first encounter over the chessboard after a long retirement. Fortune, a former government surveyor, won the national chess championship in 1964 and again in 1968 and is now the oldest living T&T ex-champion. In winning his first national title, he finished with a perfect score, defeating the seven other finalists who included such stalwarts as George Stanford, Fred Sabga and Lionel Dechi. Johnson, Gill and Cupid are outstanding youngsters who represent the future of chess in T&T. “The success of our young players is something we can be proud of,” said newly-elected T&TCA president Anderson Gordon. “The GMs, in fact, noted that we have players with the potential of becoming masters, but they would need significant levels of coaching, regular participation in international tournaments and, of course, the support of sponsorship.”
Gordon said the advice given by the Cuban GMs in their discussions were quite useful and may be incorporated in the association’s plans for developing the sport. GM Vera, 52, was the Cuban champion in 1997 and 2001. He was a member of the Cuban national team from 1980 to 2002 and won a gold medal on third board at the Elista Olympiad in Russia in 1998. He was the trainer and captain of the Cuban men’s team at the last five Olympiads. Perez, 35, has participated in more than 100 international events. He was the Cuban vice champion in 2004 and winner of the Capablanca Memorial in 1999. He was the trainer of both the junior and national female teams. The GMs spent three days in Trinidad and, because of short notice, arrangements for them to visit Tobago and San Fernanado could not be made. “In this respect, the association is grateful to RHAND for accommodating the simultaneous exhibitions in Port-of-Spain and for the significant assistance and encouragement it continues to render to the sport.”
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