Monrovia – A 15-man delegation from the Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) will today, March 22, 2023 depart the country to participate in the Zone 4.2 Individual Chess Championship.
By: Christopher C.Walker [email protected]
The Zone 4.2 Individual Chess Championship will take place from March 24 to April 1, 2023, in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
The team’s departure today follows the federation’s completion of its squad despite not hosting a qualifier tournament like it was done for past international tournaments.
The names of selected players were released to the media recently for upcoming next-door event, following an invitation extended to the country early this month.
This follows weeks of intense and detailed discussions about whom to represent the federation at the 2023 Zonal Chess Championship.
According to the Liberia Chess Federation President Thomas Karyah, the process of the open section team was based on a pooling system of three of A, B and top 10 on the FIDE classical ranking for Liberia in February 2023 and C including the top 10 from the 2022 national chess championship classical standing.
Criterion ‘A’ includes current and former national Champions, Bobby Ballah( present champion), Thomas Saah, 2019-2021 champion, James Tondo, 2018-2019 champion, and Fidi Master, Barcon Harmon, 2016-2018 national champion.
In criterion ‘B’ include the top 10 FIDE Ranked players that sees Candidate Masters Daniel Kolliemenen and Anthony Waylea, while Joel O. Ebiekuta, Charles Hadji Kiadii, David Leroy Debblay, and Arnold Smith.
As for criterion, he says, is made of the top players from the 2022 national championship which includes Herold Evans and Kennedy Kengo while in the female session, champion Abigail Karyah and Georgian Sackie are expected to represent Liberia.
Speaking further, Mr. Karyah said the decision of the LCF to select players based on the system was unanimously embraced by the leadership to give the federation the best chance of putting up serious competition for titles and ratings in the upcoming regional event.
“Within the leadership, there was strong debate over current form versus historical performance as indicated by standing in a Major national event or classical rating”, he explained.
According to him, as for the selection process in the women’s section, it was based on the LCF’s standing rule that says champions get first preference and then a decision by the leadership to give the first improving female player an opportunity to represent her country for the first time.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karyah is calling on the government of Liberia and well-meaning Liberians to focus more on the Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) if they want to see the positive result coming from the federation in international tournaments.
According to the LCF president, chess is not where it should be because of the lack of full support to the federation.
He said it’s time Liberian focus their attention on the development of kids playing chess in order to get the best out of the federation.
The LCF boss said chess in school and other programs need to be supported by citizens just how it is done to football and other sports in the country.
According to Mr. Karyah, if the necessary support is given to the sport as compared to football, kids playing chess in Liberia will benefit greatly.
“People choose football over chess and other sports in Liberia because of the financial support and prestige that is given to football”.
“The reason why the chess is not up to standard is that people fail to support its program. They give all their support to football. It is frustrating to see other sports making headlines but others are struggling to make it” he said.
The Liberian chess executive is at the same time urging young people in Liberia to focus on their professional careers as chess players if they want to succeed.