Two new WCMs among Guyanese chess players

The women who represented Guyana at the Chennai Olympiad in 2022 climbed 16 places on the chess ladder, from 136 to 120 in only their second international outing. A total of 162 women’s teams participated in the Olympiad.

Sasha Shariff and Jessica Callender have been named Conditional Candidate Masters (WCM) and their new titles will be used when they achieve FIDE ratings of 1800 or higher. Guyana’s previous WCM was Maria Varona-Thomas.

Nellisha Johnson, Pooja Lam and Anaya Lall also performed brilliantly at the Chennai Olympiad. Lall, 12, who entered the Olympiad as an unrated representative, earned a FIDE rating of 1166, making her the 6th highest among female junior chess players in Guyana. But it was Shariff who stole the show with an astonishing 57-point addition to his FIDE score. Callender also gained an additional 22 FIDE rating points, taking her to a respectable 1319. The Guyanese beat Laos, Central African Republic, Timor-Leste and Libya. They drew with Oman. In the Open section where the action was more pronounced, Guyana picked up victories over Seychelles, Gabon, Brunei Darussalam and Burundi. After his full quota of 11 matches, Master Candidate Taffin Khan moved on in 2005, making him the highest ranked FIDE competitor in Guyana. Khan played an interesting tournament on Board One, where the best players converge from all over the world. He scored 4.5 points in 11 games.

FIDE Master Anthony Drayton scored an impressive 33 points, making him the third best local chess player. Loris Nathoo finished the tournament with 1702 and Roberto Neto with 1651. Ethan Lee, playing superbly in his first Olympiad and rated at 1523, is now Guyana’s highest ranked junior chess player. The Guyana team had a brilliant Olympic tournament.

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