International Master (IM) Alan-Safar Ramoutar and Woman International Master (WIM) Gabriella Johnson are among the core local players who will begin the T&T Chess Association's (TTCA) journey starting in Division Four at the inaugural FIDE Online Chess Olympiad, from Friday at noon.
Reigning Junior and Senior "Sportsman of the Year" and national junior absolute champion, Ramoutar, and "Sportswoman of the Year" Johnson form part of an elite unit which also include national champion absolute FIDE Master (FM) Kevin Cupid, national Under-18 champion Women Candidate Master (WCM) Shemilah James, who is the reigning Junior Sportswoman of the Year, national swiss champion FM Isaiah Mc Intosh and Jennika Lynch, the national junior women's champion.
They will compete in an event which has been organised in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the world governing body for chess to postpone the "Over-the-Board" 44th Olympiad from August until next year in Moscow, Russia.
Played as a mixed event, the Online Olympiad will be contested over the rapid format (15 minutes for the game and 5 seconds increment per move). Each team is consists of two Open boards, two Women boards, one U-20 men's board, and one U-20 women's board.
To which, Ramoutar, the national junior absolute champion, Johnson as well as their teammates will be keen to make the correct moves and play great chess against the best in the world.
Division Four, which will run until Sunday, is divided into five pools with 10 teams each. Each pool plays a round-robin of nine rounds. The top three teams from each pool in the Division qualify for Division Three (August 7-9).
Among the reserves on the T&T team are FM Alex Winter Roach, FM Ryan Harper, Amy Ali, Candidate Master (CM) Sean Yearwood and Zara La Fleur (WCM pending). Yearwood and La Fleur were also successful in last year's National Youth and Junior Chess Championships emerging the U-18 Absolute and U-14 Girls champions, respectively.
Leading the local team in the competition are captain Keelan Hunte and vice captain Roderick Noel and they will be guided by coach Grandmaster (GM) Marian Petrov.