SEVEN-TIME national chess champion Shane Matthews was recently awarded the international chess title of ‘FIDE Master’ (FM), by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
Matthews achieved the necessary requirements for the title at the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista, Russia. However, he was not awarded the title due to an unfortunate technicality, that has now been resolved. It has been a long journey 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 title could have possibly opened up additional opportunities. Although Matthews becomes officially the fourth Jamaica to be awarded the title, chronologically he would have been the first Jamaican to earn an international title.
Known in most chess circles as the ‘Magician’, Matthew’s strongest quality is probably his great determination and fighting spirit even in inferior positions. His real strength is best seen in the middle game, when theory recedes in the background and tactical blows and concrete variations become of paramount importance.
While his years of experience have enabled him to develop a keen strategic and positional understanding, Matthews is first and foremost a chess tactician par excellence.
Matthews has captured the national chess champion title a record seven times, in addition to countless other triumphs in local and international chess over the last three decades.
He is indisputably one of the greatest players in the history of chess in Jamaica, and his contribution to the development of Jamaican chess, his longevity, his achievements and his sportsmanship are remarkable.
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– GM Susan Polgar