By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Bahamas made its first appearance as the newest member of the International School Sports Federation at the World Schools Championships’ Online Chess Tournament and Daijah Johnson continues to make history.
Johnson, Woman Candidate Chess Master, advanced to the tournament finals after emerging as one of the top 40 participants in a field that comprised some of the top players across the globe in the ISF Qualifiers.
WCM Johnson, the first female in the Bahamas to ever receive an International Chess Federation (FIDE) title, got her opening in round four and proceeded to win five matches.
Johnson finished at No 38 to qualify for the U18 finals, scheduled for October 24. The remainder of the U18 team included Olga Roussos and Trinity. Roussos and Pinder were very close to qualifying in the top 40 at No.41 and No.46 in the rankings respectively.
Pinder was the first participant for team Bahamas and won in the first round against a higher rated player. She finished with four points. Roussos, who also participated in the Online Chess Olympiad in August, finished with 4.5 points.
“It was a great effort by our junior players as they competed against stronger chess counties in Europe and Asia,” The Bahamas Chess Federation said in a statement, “Great result from all our players so far; we look forward to the Finals and extraordinary things from all three players in the future.”
“I feel as if each international tournament is always a good experience as I get to compete against people from different parts around the world. I also get to interact with people from different cultures and make long friendships with fellow chess players like myself,” Johnson said prior to the tournament.
Bahamas Chess Federation Elton Joseph said it is a great opportunity for the development of the local sport.
“Chess is a sport that age is basically a number. If the kids get strong enough, they can compete at the highest level which is the World Chess Olympiad,” he said, “This year we had a lot of funding. We had some chess sets and books. We were supposed to do a big program to put chess in the schools but COVID-19 hit. There are two clubs in Freeport, a club in Eleuthera and Andros that we sent chess sets to, and then school closed down.”
The ISF World Schools Championship Online Chess 2020 will begin October 3 with qualification rounds and concludes on October 25 with finals. Throughout October, the ISF World Schools Championship Online Chess 2020 will include four qualification and four final tournaments.
The virtual competition software used will be Premium Chess.
In addition to Johnson (Aquinas College), Pinder (Doris Johnson) and Roussos (Home School), the full roster for team Bahamas includes: U18 Open - Nathan Smith (Home School), Aiden Mart (Home School), Noah Albury (St. Augustine’s College), Trevor Bridgewater (Queen’s College), Curtis Pride Jr (Home School); U15 Girls - Makayla Horton (St. Augustine’s College), Faith Higgs (SC McPherson); U15 Open - Avain Pride (Home School), Seth Roberts (Queen’s College), Daniel Ramtulla (Queen’s College), Tadan Ferguson (Home School); U18 Open - Nathaniel Higgs Jr (RM Bailey).