Jamaica Invests Heavily Into Finding The Next GM Maurice Ashley

Jamaica Invests Heavily Into Finding The Next GM Maurice Ashley


Jamaica’s government has announced an ambitious plan to pour J$40 million (approximately $260,000 at the time of writing) into chess in a drive to create a new grandmaster by 2033, local media reported. 

Ministers on the Caribbean island want to find the next GM Maurice Ashley, the Jamaica-born player who made history by becoming the first-ever African-American grandmaster in 1999. Ashley, who went on to represent the United States and become a respected chess commentator, is on board and was quoted in the news site Loop as saying he is available and willing to “godfather this national effort.”

The funds, to be plowed into the Jamaica Chess Federation through the island’s Ministry of Sport, were announced during a budget debate last week.

Minister of Finance Dr. Nigel Clarke said: “It is high time for another Jamaican to follow in [Ashley’s] footsteps.”

Dr. Clarke added: “With grandmaster Ashley they (the ministry and the Jamaica Chess Federation) will develop a national program to achieve this goal even as the … federation pursues a broad-based chess-in-schools program.”

Citing the “spectacular exploits” of sporting greats such as Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Chris Gayle, Leon Bailey, and Raheem Sterling, Dr. Clarke declared: “Jamaica has proven its ability to compete internationally in many areas of physical sport.”

“If Jamaican individuals can achieve that on their own imagine what can be achieved with dedicated national support,” he said.

“The drive of the Jamaican is unmatched when it comes to the focus, determination, and execution required to attain goals. With so many bright minds all over Jamaica the next area ripe for competitive conquest is the prestigious game of chess.”

A letter published in The Gleaner, the island’s biggest newspaper, also supported the move.

Ashley, who has commentated on numerous world and U.S. championships, among other tournaments, announced last month that he is stepping back from commentator work.

Jamaica currently has two IMs, 48-year-old Jomo Pitterson (FIDE 2226) and 59-year-old Shane Matthews (FIDE 2205). The country’s top-rated player is 22-year-old FM Joshua Christie (2294).

Jamaica’s chess team is due to play when chess makes its debut as a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games event later this year at the San Salvador Games in 2023.


Source link

Tinggalkan Balasan