Chess, a recreational and competitive game played between two players, is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.
But while it is established in certain parts of the world, it is now in its embryonic stage and growing in popularity among Guyanese.
After being dormant for more than two decades, the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF), which was resuscitated through the efforts of Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, is now headed by veteran player, Errol Tiwari.
Since its revival, the Federation has worked overtime to ensure that chess, which is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee, is played extensively throughout the country at both the school and competitive levels.
But while the GCF has been relatively successful in its endeavors to publicize the game as extensively as possible, there was the general feeling that chess needed ‘a shot in the arm’, something that was missing.
That piece of the puzzle was found early last month when the Federation was informed that 28-year-old German Grandmaster (GM) Rainer Buhmann had express an interest to the Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries (CACDEC) in visiting Guyana, prior to his involvement in the Heroes’ Day Chess tournament, which concluded in Barbados last week.
Without hesitation, the GCF accepted the invitation to host Buhmann, who was the first GM to visit these shores since Vladimir Anatoshin of Russia in June 1795, under the LFS Burnham-led GCF.
Buhmann was born on February 20, 1981 in Leimen, a small city in Germany; he began playing chess at the tender of six after he was introduced to the game by his father.
“I didn’t take it seriously until I was 12. I joined my first chess club at the age of 12 and from there it was no turning back,” Buhmann explained.
Thereafter, Buhmann made a meteoric rise, discarding of all opponents before him. His tremendous quality was quickly recognized and he was soon challenging and even beating players rated above him.
He soon became a Candidate master, and upon achieving 2,300 rating points, he was elevated to the status of FIDE master. It was not long after that he became an International master when he earned the stipulated 2,400 rating points.
After playing the fixed set of three tournaments maximum involving GMs, Buhmann earned the limit of eight points per tournament to achieve the title of GM at 2,500 rating points.
“I became a Grandmaster in 2007 at the age of 26,” GM Buhmann, with a current rating point of 2,582, proudly told this publication. “We have approximately 70 Grandmasters and 202 International masters in Germany. The top Grandmaster is rated at 2,700.”
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