Let us give FM Frank Yee full marks for consistency, determination and the commitment to be his best. These are the qualities which have finally earned him the national chess title, climaxing an active and durable chess career that goes back to his student days at Holy Cross College, some 25 years ago.
From that point of view, the achievement of the 42-year-old UWI computer specialist deserves special commendation as it sets an admirable example for all aspiring youngsters to follow.
Looking back over his marathon career, Yee believes he has sought the national chess crown in some 13 finals and remembers placing third as his highest score.
A less confident player might well have given up hope, especially since he was often overshadowed by FM Ryan Harper who not only outplayed the field of finalists in six national outings but also underlined his supremacy by victories in several major tournaments.
But Yee's love for the game, his early achievements among the juniors, his strong performance in contests at home and abroad and, of course, his belief in himself have kept him going.
In this year's race to the title, Yee found himself in an exciting see-saw tussle.
Harper took the early lead with five and a half points from six rounds, but Yee managed to remain close to his heels just half a point behind.
The situation changed dramatically in the seventh when Harper went under to ex-champion Marcus Joseph while Yee gained a full point from Thuku Moheni, the Tobago finalist who had withdrawn from the tournament.
In the eighth, Yee forged a full point ahead by overcoming veteran Frank Sears while Harper had to share the point with Roderick Noel who held him to a draw. The score between them: Yee 7, Harper 6.
Fortunes changed again in the ninth as Harper pulled level with a victory over his determined rival.
In the tenth, however, the defending champion suffered a disastrous setback as he was decisively outplayed by rising youngster Dev Soondarsingh.
Yee took the lead again with a characteristically careful win over Kevin Cupid.
In the meanwhile Joseph had recovered nicely by outplaying veteran Cecil Lee in the ninth and Roderick Noel in the tenth.
The score among the four leaders going into the eleventh and final round:?Yee, eight; Joseph, seven and a half; Harper seven; Joshua Johnson, seven.
The concluding round pitted Yee against Joseph in a decisive encounter which promised to produce some fireworks.
A victory by Joseph would earn him the title for a second time, but, with both players giving nothing away, the game ended in a tame draw.
Still, the tournament had its share of dramatic moments and ended in a well-deserved triumph for a player who has now capped his longevity at the top of the sport with the country's supreme title.
DR joins with the rest of the T&T chess community in congratulating him.
Yee's ultimate success should now serve to encourage all aspiring youngsters including the four who confirmed their prominence by notable performances in this national event; Joshua Johnson, Esan Wiltshire and Kevin Cupid who scored seven each and Dev Soondarsingh on six.
The lesson of his crowning achievement is clear, perseverance pays off.
Not ever fortunate enough to have a coach, Yee travelled the long journey to the top on his own steam.
He credits the development of his chess skills largely to his own wide experience in contests at home and abroad and in jousting with foreign opponents via his computer.
For example, he holds the unofficial record of winning the Knights Chess Club's two open annual events a number of times; of representing T&T at five Olympiads: Elista, Russia 1998, Kalmykia, Russia 2000, Istanbul, Turkey 2004, Calvia, Spain 2010 and Kanty Mansyisk, Russia 2010, of competing at sub-zonals at San Filipe and Merida, Venezuela, and at Guyaquil, Ecuador, where he gained the Fide Master title.
Now where does T&T new national chess champion go from here?
The next logical objective, of course, is to make history by becoming the country's first International Master.
In this enterprise, Yee is as confident as ever. From his present ELO rating of 2099, the T&T champ would have to make 2600 in three international tournaments to achieve that goal.
It's a formidable task for any T&T player. But DR believes he can do it.
Good luck Frank.