Jamaica’s team at the opening ceremony of the 23rd World Students’ Chess Olympiad in Caracas, Venezuela, 7-22 August, 1976. From left: Bob Wheeler, John Powell (deceased), Peter Mundell, David Hunt (deceased), Enos Grant (Captain/delegate, deceased), Orrin Tonsingh (deceased), and Sheldon Wong. Photo from Jamaica Ambassadors Chess Academy.
I don’t believe I ever met John Powell on my trips to Jamaica, but I have heard stories about his tireless work to promote Jamaican Chess. What had impressed me most was his return to play in local tournaments after many years. He had no problem playing with up-and-coming players in a day when many esteemed players fear risking their reputation.
On October 31st, Powell left this earthly plane. He left behind a legacy that will hopefully inspire generations of players. Having participated in nine Olympiads and having represented the island on youth teams, these accomplishments set the bar for chess excellence and have been hidden too long.
There are many stories like Powell’s and we are remiss in not making their accomplishments public earlier. Let’s honor our heroes while they live and make their accomplishments known to the world. Bertram Scott has also written about David “Wagga” Hunt who died a few days before Powell. What a tragedy.
Read Bertram Scott’s photo essay here!