Kevin Denny wins coveted Barbados "Sportsman of the Year" Award!


This story comes out of Bridgetown, Barbados from the Daily Nation (30 December 2001) penned by Philip Spooner. Kevin Denny, who recently earned his IM title at the last subzonal in Venezuela, has won the National Sports Council's "Sportsman of the Year" award, one of the most coveted awards in local sport.  In a country dominated by cricket, this selection comes as quite a surprise to both the Barbados Chess Federation and Mr. Denny himself.

IM Kevin Denny and mother, Eltha Denny

In the article, IM Denny is pictured with mother, Eltha Denny, who allowed her young inquisitive lad to go next door to watch the neighbors playing the royal game of chess. "It started back in 1982 when I got a chess set for Christmas. I didn't like to have anything around and not use it. Luckily, my neighbour was an avid player and one day my mother asked him if I could look on. His name was Mr A.V. Thompson and I approached and asked, and it grew from there." After that day, his curiosity had been piqued and history would later be written that he would become the first IM from the English-speaking Caribbean nations.

Asked how he felt about the national award, he calmly replied, "I was very much surprised. I really thought, considering there is not much of a culture for chess, that it [the award] would have gone to a more traditional sport, maybe cricket." Star cyclist Barry Forde or champion jockey Pat Husbands were also in the running, but this proves that chess has arrived as bonafide sporting event.  While the International Master's title or "IM" was a great milestone, Denny hopes one day to earn the coveted Grandmaster's or "GM" title. Congratulations IM Denny!!

Daily Nation , "Checkmate," 30 December 2001 (Philip Spooner)

Daily Nation, "Denny's File," 30 December 2001

The Chess Drum - The Talking Drum featuring Kevin Denny

Editor's Note: Denny is the second chess player of African descent to win his country's highest sporting award in recent months. IM Amon Simutowe was awarded Zambia's top award last year.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 4 January 2002