Bringing back the magic of chess Chess
With Errol Tiwari
Stabroek News
November 26, 2006

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Sometimes I would reflect in a sentimental way, about the days of yesteryear when chess was played passionately and with vigour as a competitive sport at the Guyana Chess Federation. It was magic.

There was a noticeable excitement among players as a tournament was about to begin. Usually, the tournament hall would have in excess of 50 participants and we would all be speaking loquaciously at the same time, greeting each other loudly, and generally giving the impression that we were in exuberant spirits as the pairings were being worked out by the tournament director.

When those pairings were finally announced, there would be an uncontrollable rush for score sheets and chess clocks and a scampering for favoured seats at the tables where the games would be contested. It was amusing.

Certain known players would inevitably embark upon their usual campaign of seeking to borrow pens with which to record the moves of the game as they play. We would be busy, excited and impatient. Chess had intoxicated us. Nothing else mattered at the moment. It was our ardent desire to play and compete and nothing would stand in our way.

After a while, when everyone would have taken their designated places at the tables, the laughter and chatting would gradually cease and silence would descend upon the Chess Hall. Quite suddenly, as if by some mystical force, we were transformed into serious chess players. We avoided our opponents' eyes and pretended we were deep in thought, contemplating the straightforward formalities of the score sheet. An awkwardness would develop and we would feel the tension as we waited anxiously for instructions to start our clocks and begin our games.

As we shook hands with our opponents before moving our pawns on the chessboard, we realized we were all the same. Status in society no longer mattered. We were chess players, no more, no less, with a common purpose and a common goal. The only thing on our minds would be checkmate; actually, it became an obsession to checkmate our opponents' Kings.

Those who are familiar with tournament chess in Guyana, would not only remember, they would empathize with this. And it is this nostalgia which would be re-created and which we would feel when chess is played competitively again.

A thriving Georgetown business has expressed a willingness to sponsor a one-day chess tournament in December before Christmas, primarily with the intention of bringing chess players together in one place so we could share our views on how to move the process of chess forward.

Let us be optimistic when we think of reviving the game. One person, single-handedly, cannot do it. But as a dedicated team we can do it. And let us think of the offers we have had so far to promote the game, as the beginning of a larger outpouring of generosity for the development of chess in Guyana.

Let us bring back the magic.