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Fresh life for the T&TCA
A new T&T Chess Association was voted into office on Sunday, hopefully ushering a fresh, more cohesive and enterprising era for the sport.
While some constitutional misgiving was expressed at the start of the meeting in San Fernando, DR was encouraged by the spirit of unity which eventually prevailed. Indeed, the desire to move ahead, to bury the contentious episode that had brought the Association to a halt, was seen in the smooth process of the election which saw a new executive voted into office virtually unopposed.
As he took over the helm, former national chess champion Anderson Gordon set the tone of his administration by a call for “healing and togetherness.” A business consultant, Gordon holds both the Bachelor and Master of Science degrees and brings to the T&TCA presidency the kind of organisational experience and expertise needed in this period of transition.
First vice president is David Martin, president of the Southern Chess Club and founder president of the Grant Memorial Presbyterian School Chess Club, the largest chess club in the country. Martin’s one-man success with the GMPSCC and the new life he has injected into the SCC should make him a definite asset in the effort to forge a new destiny for chess.
Second vice president is Trevor Flower, a consistent performer with some experience in administrative matters.
Third vice-president Keevin James is an enthusiastic yet level-headed youngster whose genuine love for chess can be seen in his contribution as both player and organiser. A valuable member of Martin’s SCC executive, Keevin will now expand his work among the southern youth to the national level.
Sandy Razark returns as the Association’s secretary. Under previous regimes, she had established herself as an amiable, competent and well organised secretary, and her unopposed reinstatement on Sunday was an obvious vote of confidence from the general membership. Assistant Secretary Lisa Brown faced the only contested election among executive members. She emerged victorious, edging out Bhisham Soondarsingh by 13 to 12 votes. Treasurer Mala Agostini was also re-elected.
For selfish reasons perhaps, but DR is particularly happy that the post of Public Relations Officer of the Association is finally filled by a genuine and respected professional. Sonja Johnson, experienced in the field, has already demonstrated her capabilities at various T&TCA events, including a number of international tournaments. Johnson’s commitment to the sport is also well established, being the mother of Joshua, Under-20 national champion, and Gabriella, Silver Medallist at CAC Junior Chess.
The following committees were also elected. Disciplinary: FM Ryan Harper, Coreen Cabralis, Clayton Gomez. Tribunal: Marcus Joseph, Quintin Cabralis, Andrew Bowles, Kamla Rampersad DeSilva, David Jones. Darryl Davis defeated Russell Smith by 19 to two votes to join the team of trustees. So there you have it; personnel of the new national chess administration.
DR’s personal interaction with most members of the team over a period of time, his knowledge of their commitment to the development and expansion of chess, inspires him with a feeling of confidence over the future of this mentally enhancing sport, that the sad lessons of the recent past will now give way to an uplifting era of cooperation and support.
A total of nine chess clubs attended the meeting with a combined voting strength of 25, and the fact that all members of the new executive, except the post of assistant secretary, were elected unopposed by all the delegates is an encouraging indication of the united spirit that prevailed.
For the record, the attending clubs were Knights, Southern Chess Club, Paladins, Promenade, Central Vikings, Kings and Queens, Checkmaters, UWI and Valkyries.
Before he closes, DR feels obligated, on behalf of the entire chess community, to enter a vote of thanks to outgoing first vice president Roderick Noel for his one-man initiative in summoning Sunday’s annual general meeting and conducting the proceedings in true democratic spirit.
In his modest but determined way, Noel finally disregarded the constitutional confusion that crippled the organisation for several weeks after president Russell Griffith and six members of his executive had resigned. Hesitant at first because he was unsupported by a quorum, Noel finally took the plunge by himself to bring the national chess body back to life.
Some constitutional objections were raised at the start of the meeting but these fell by the wayside when Tribunal chairman Carlyle Singh disclosed that he had received formal requests from five member clubs to summon the AGM, sufficient for the meeting to proceed.
The sport of chess has thus crossed a disruptive hurdle. The lessons for its administrators are there to be learned. Let a new era begin.
n NEXT WEEK: THE WAY AHEAD
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