Bahamas devastated… word from chess community!

Bahamas Bahamas Bahamas

Nature takes no prisoners when it comes to expressing it relentless power. The latest evidence has taken place in the western hemisphere and it goes by the moniker of “Dorian.” The hurricane whipped up tremendous energy and has devastated large parts of the Bahamas while largely sparing Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These islands got residual damage such as flooding and power outages, but what was unleashed on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama was pure hell. The slow-moving hurricane hovered over the Grand Bahama for nearly two days with 180-200 mph (290-322 km/h) winds.

New Providence the capital had flooding and service outages, but the northern Bahamas (Abaco and Grand Bahama) was devastated. People are still searching for family. All we can do is pray and get supplies to them.

~ Elton Joseph, President of Bahamas Chess Federation

The Bahamas is a group of 700 islands that include some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Most will know about Nassau and Freeport, but Abaco and Grand Bahama are also frequent attractions for tourists from around the world. The beautiful waters striking all shades of blue make it a perfect place for jetsking, parasailing, snorkeling of simply a peaceful walk on the the white sandy beaches.

Google Maps (Abaco & Grand Bahama)

The Beauty of the Bahamas

Birds of a feather…flock together!

Photos by Daaim Shabazz/The Chess Drum

However on Sunday, September 1st, Dorian begin to crash into the Bahamas, arriving as a powerful Category 5 hurricane. The slow-moving hurricane dumped torrential rains onto the islands and the winds sucked the roofs off of houses, carried cars and debris miles away from their origins. In Abaco and Grand Bahama, the scene resembles an absolute war zone. Unfortunately, the death toll cannot be tabulated until the waters subside when health and sanitation will become critical needs.

By some estimate, Abaco and Grand Bahama islands were said to be more than 90% destroyed. The Chess Drum contacted Elton Joseph, President of the Bahamas Chess Association, who reflected on sad situation. “People are still searching for family. All we can do is pray and get supplies to them,” said Joseph.

There are a number of relief aid agencies collecting supplies to send to the islands. Initial efforts made by first-responders were thwarted because the airports were underwater. Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis gave an assessment on the situation of what he called a “monster hurricane.” The images are heartbreaking. Let us learn from the tsunamai (2005) and Haiti (2010) disasters and not tarry!

Video by MSNBC

The Bahamas has an active chess community and most recently participated in the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. According to Joseph, there was minimal effect in the New Providence area (within the capital of Nassau), a place known to most tourists. It is the hope of the chess community that the Bahamas, its citizens and the chess players will begin recovering from this destruction and come back a stronger nation.

Karelina Polina, the 2019 Bahamas Junior Champion posted on her Facebook page the day after Dorian made landfall…

Hurricane Dorian Support:
Red Cross:


  1. Thank you Daaim. We in the Jamaican Chess community extend condolences to our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. We lift them up and offer love, power, strength and every possible kind of support that we can give at this extremely challenging time. Of course, we are happy to see that our brother (President Elton) is alright and also hope that there were no fatalities etc. among the members of the Bahamian Chess community.

  2. The Bahamian Youth Team at the 1983 World Youth Team Championship, Chicago Illinois. Pictured above, the team consisted of (left to right) Juliette Storr, Anthony Moss, Percy Rolle, Antoinette Seymour. In Batumi was Antoinette’s cousin Erica Seymour who won the Jr. Championship in 1992. Antoinette also came out of retirement after decades.

    Bahamas @ 2018 Chess Olympiad (Batumi, Georgia)
    Bahamas Bahamas Bahamas
    (L-R) WCM Daijah Johnson, Antoinette Seymour
    Dr. Juliette Storr and Erica Seymour
    Photo by Bahamas Chess Federation

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