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  • Writer's pictureFatima College News

Fatima Chess Club

Chess is one of the world’s oldest, most respected, and widely played Mind Sports.

Also known as the “Royal Game”, Chess is a member of the Association of International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) recognized International Sports Federations – one of only two Mind Sports to have achieved Olympic status. The close correlation between Chess and Academic Excellence has long been recognized.

It is therefore no surprise that Fatima College has traditionally been considered a powerhouse of Junior Chess in Trinidad and Tobago, dating back to the first ever Secondary Schools Championship in 1994. The Fatima Chess Club prospered for many years, under the watchful guidance and mentorship of Mr. Aloysius Bernard Joseph.

Fatima Chess players hone their skills at lunchtime, during the week. The Club initially met in the language lab (now the School Library), before moving next door to its current location. It has now been relocated to the IT Room.

Over the years, Fatima College has produced many top-class players, who have gone on to become respected members of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess community. Fatima Students who have achieved success on the local and international scene include:

•Joseph Gill, Candidate Master (CM), who represented Trinidad and Tobago internationally during the 2010s; and

•Joshua Johnson, FIDE Master, and one of the top Chess players in the Caribbean Region, who has been a mainstay of the Trinidad and Tobago Open Chess Team for several years, most recently at the World Team Championship in India in 2022

In recent years, following the retirement of Mr. Joseph, the Fatima Chess Club has been in abeyance. Special credit must therefore be given to Kyle Valley, former Sixth Form Student and Fatima Chess Captain, and a small core team of dedicated Chess players that include Kyle West and Aaron Chaitram, for their initiative and energy in keeping the Club active.

With Junior Chess currently experiencing something of a Renaissance in Trinidad and Tobago, after several years of relative inactivity (much of it Pandemic-induced), Fatima Chess is on the move:

•Fatima College was well represented at the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Association’s inaugural National Secondary School Individual Rapid Chess Tournament, held on November 5, 2022. The Fatima posse gave a good account of itself, finishing a close fourth in the Team rankings, just behind Naparima College, Hillview College, and the winning school Presentation College (Chaguanas)

•Our Principal, Mr. Cooper, has reiterated his strong support for the development of Chess at Fatima, and in this regard, arrangements were made to engage two experienced Chess coaches, both top-ranking national players, to teach and mentor our players. In early 2023, Fide Master Joshua Johnson (Fatima College alumni) and Fide Master Adrian Winter-Atwell came on board and the Chess Club was back up and running.

With a highly talented group of young Chess players eager to build their skills, a structured Chess programme and strong Executive support in place, the future for Fatima Chess seems very bright, indeed.

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