Zachary Ramsay has launched a relatively-new blog called caribchess.net and recently penned an interesting article about the future of Caribbean chess. With Maurice Ashley arriving in Jamaica yesterday to help train the national team for the Olympiad, there is a since of urgency to move the federation in the right direction since the development of a world-class player has eluded the English-speaking Caribbean.
In the article he mentions the success of other Jamaica sports and takes the advice of Ashley by saying that Jamaica should focus on a small cadre of young players and pour resources into them. This is not exactly the way Magnus Carlsen was produced, but perhaps there is some relevance to this method. Read his thoughts!
by Zachary Ramsay
Recently, the symbol of two hands stretched out reaching for the stars means one thing, a Jamaican and Caribbean hero, USAIN BOLT. Undoubtedly Jamaica has risen to be the top sprinting nation in the entire world, and while this pleases each and every Caribbean individual, the question still lingers in the hearts of Caribbean chess players, ‘when are we going to step up?’
The region has recently seen new strides in recent times, the Heroes Day Cup in Barbados, the CMMB Championships in Trinidad and of course, the recent Frederick Cameron Open in Jamaica, all in themselves wonderfully successful, however it is evident that some how we are still falling short, without a single GM in the region (!). Remembering notes from Maurice Ashley, combined with elements of Jamaica’s success in sprinting, I have compiled a list of possible prospects in the region and suggestions to all Tournament organizers. This week, I focus on the beginning.
Sports can’t go anywhere without the support of massive funding, and chess is no different, but understand this funding comes from businesses, and not just any businesses, rich businesses who are thinking about their own monetary interests and will really only fund sports that are popular and doing well. Well then, how do we get chess popular? The thing I remember most about GM Ashley’s speech was about promoting a player, and it is true, the love of sports roots from the love of star athletes.
Would the Caribbean go wild for football if it wasn’t for the likes of Ricardo Gardener or Dwight Yorke? Sprinting if it wasn’t for Bolt or Asafa? I didn’t think so, the fact is we need to focus on about 2 select juniour players in each territory, and put every ounce of our own training effort and funding to win (yes numero uno) major events such as the World Juniour Championships and eventually the GM title.
I say juniours because it is much easier if at all possible to win an international championship of such an epic proportion that global attention will gravitate towards us from every single corner of the globe. Once such an event occurs, the face of such a star juniour could be pasted everywhere, on Digicel ads, Pepsi bottles, and billboards. This is how we will get major corporations on board (ignore the pun), by making the sport tremendously popular. Can you imagine if the next time you sit down to have breakfast, open that box of Frosted Flakes and see Caribchess playing cards (!?), where else can we go from there but triumph to triumph?