On Sunday at the CC Sweeting High School members of The Bahamas Chess Federation will select a new president to take the federation and the game of chess in The Bahamas forward and hopefully to new levels.
Incumbent president Kean Smith will be challenged by veteran player Frank Gibson, a former national champion and one of the country’s top players.
Gibson, who is also a popular magician, said on Thursday that his short-term goals are to “change the image of Chess in The Bahamas, to set in place a standard teaching system that every teacher of chess can use so the majority of students in The Bahamas can climb together.
Additionally, in the short term, Gibson says he hopes to be able to give players the opportunity to travel to competitions and eliminate the problem of not having enough funds be an obstacle to travel as has been the case in the past.
“These are problems I have experienced my entire career and I had to develop creative ways to solve them. I can tell you much more but first the BCF has to restructure itself to be able to be in the position to benefit all players in the future,” said Gibson.
“In my opinion the younger players in The Bahamas are in a position where they must eventually choose between a sport that is more popular among their friends/public or their educational demands. Chess in this country seems to be a (extra curricular activity like taking piano lessons and my opinion is that the country has not seen the other side of chess,” said Gibson.
He said he has seen very talented young chess players “dissolve” after five years and he could only wonder what could have been if they had stayed and developed their chess game. He is of the opinion that The Bahamas would probably have its first popular world- class player by now.
Gibson admitted that he has not vigorously gone on the campaign trail to seek votes. He said, “I haven’t taken the campaign part of it that seriously because I don’t believe I have to become president of The BCF to make a huge difference in my country.”
“Since our system of procedures requires the majority of (active) members to support any objective by way of their vote, it is possible to have a good idea to move the federation forward but still have no one vote to implement it, so I am of the opinion the most of what I need to do I will just do it myself,” said Gibson.
Smith on the other hand said one of his goals would be to organise and promote stronger chess tournaments.
He said, “With the help of consecutive executive committees, I have been able to organise at least one FIDE rated tournament per year since 2006. This has resulted in seven Bahamian players earning and maintaining FIDE ratings.
Those players that Smith is referring to that have achieved FIDE ratings is led by Gibson with 1932 points, Elton Joseph is second with 1906 points, followed by Ken Gibson 1904, Kean Smith 1862, Byron Small 1776, Charles Duncombe 1682, and Chappel Whyms 1619 points.
“With the use of contacts I have developed during my time as president, the BCF will seek to organise at least one major FIDE rated tournament this year to be held in Nassau. This tournament will have at least one FIDE titled player,” noted Smith.
He said the t tournament would provide the top players of the federation opportunities to test their skills against stronger players than themselves.
“Further,” said Smith, “ The BCF under my watch will do all that it can to assist local clubs and chess organisers to host strong tournaments throughout The Bahamas.
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar