The first ever virtual edition of the FIDE Chess Olympiad wrapped up on Sunday, with a number of players still taking part despite the restraints brought on by the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The members of The Bahamas’ Online Olympiad Team included Philip Hanna, Nelissa Thomas, Nathaniel A. Higgs, Aidan Mart, Chika Pride, Avian Pride, Olga Roussos, Aaron Ramtulla and Makayla Horton. Six of the nine players for The Bahamas are juniors. Prior to the start of the online event, the team trained tirelessly, during lockdowns and curfews, by participating in several Bahamas Chess Federation (BCF) online tournaments. The training was designed to help members get used to online competitions and gain experience.
The Bahamas competed valiantly in Division Four for three intense days beginning July 31. Through Hurricane Isaias, power cuts and intermittent Wi-Fi, the players pressed on. In a testament to their commitment to represent The Bahamas, the participants secured extra data, charged tablets, and used generators, so that they would not miss their games.
In the end, The Bahamas placed ninth in Division Four with a total of nine points. Juniors Chika Pride and her brother Avian played extremely well, garnering three and two points, respectively. Nelissa Thomas also had a good performance, winning two out of three rounds. Aidan Mart and Makayla Horton finished with one point each.
This was the first time playing in the Olympiad for all Team Bahamas participants. The players performed well against FIDE (International Chess Federation) Masters, Woman International Masters, Candidate Masters and Woman Candidate Masters as well as National Masters from other countries.
“The BCF is extremely proud of the players who participated. This prestigious competition was a great learning experience for all participants,” said BCF President Elton Joseph. “The performance of the participants demonstrates the progress the federation is making, but also brought home the fact that we need to continue to work toward developing the skill level of all our players. The Bahamas Chess Federation will continue to work to grow the sport of chess here in The Bahamas and to give our players opportunities to participate in international competitions.”
The 2020 Olympiad was a competition between various countries and was designed as a community event to help countries interact with each other. Three countries from the region, including Jamaica, advanced to the next division.
This year’s unique online event was held as a result of the inability to stage the regular World Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Russia, due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event featured over 1,500 participants from 163 countries around the world, making it a truly global team event. The 30-day event kicked off on July 25 and wrapped up on Sunday.