Matthews gets FM title… 12 years late!

A seven-time national champion, Shane Matthews earned the moniker “The Magician” by the style he wins his games. Having represented Jamaica at the Olympiad since 1982, he has seen his share of good results. In 1998, he competed at the Olympiad in Elista and scored 6½/11. (see result at

FM Shane Matthews at 2010 Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia with Jamaican President Ian Wilkinson capturing the moment. Photo by

According to the FIDE Handbook under title Requirements for titles, section 1.2.4, its states “9 games – 66 2/3% = title”. FIDE did not immediately award Matthews the title. Perhaps the point was that after scoring 6/9, he went on to score ½/2 falling under the 66%. The question is whether the 66% must be reached in the first nine games or if it covers the entire result. Apparently the Jamaican Chess Federation has made a case for the title, but it took more than a decade for them to decide to award Matthews the title.

It has been a long time coming for Matthews, a very personable and well-liked figure in international chess. The travesty is that Matthews has had to wait 12 years when the FM title could have possible opened up additional opportunities. Nevertheless, Matthews becomes officially the fourth Jamaica to be awarded the title although chronologically he would have been the first Jamaican to earn an international title. The Chess Drum community salutes Shane Matthews!!


  1. Shane,

    Greetings from The Bahamas. Congrads on your FM title. Also, congrads to the Jamaica Chess Federation for making the necessary application.

    Best Wishes,
    Kean Smith

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