Chess will be in good hands - Wilkinson
After 16 years in office, Jamaica Chess Federation president Ian Wilkinson will demit office next June. However, Wilkinson believes that his successor will do a good job. Speaking earlier this month, he said that there are several persons who have been groomed for leadership.
He also noted that had things been different, Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke might have been in the running for the job.
Asked on December 6 whether he sees potential leaders in the sport, he said, "We have some other persons who have been groomed over a number of years, and I'm confident that my successor will do well because I will remain on the council for a little while - two to four years, I don't know - to help with the transition."
He did recount that he had recruited Dr Clarke to chess and entertained hopes of the current finance minister leading the federation someday.
"We have three vice-presidents for the respective counties - Cornwall, Middlesex, Surrey - and he was vice-president for Surrey," he recalled.
"He made a tremendous difference to our chess administration. [He is] obviously a man who brings a lot of talent and attributes in various forums and various spheres of activity," Wilkinson said. "So, it was a bit of disappointment when he had to resign from the council earlier this year," noted the outgoing president.
At present, Wilkinson is supported by Mark Holness, Peter Myers and Robert Wheeler, the vice-presidents for Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey, respectively, and the other members of the federation's governing council.
The sport's new leader will be elected in June 2019 when the federation stages its annual general meeting. That's when Wilkinson will step down.
In near wonderment at his long sojourn in the chair, he recalled, "I signed on initially in 2003 to do two years because the presidential elections are held every two years, and after two years, I said, 'A lot of groundwork has been laid, let me do two more, and I said, 'Guys, I'm outta here in 2007'."
Wilkinson, who has resigned four times in the past, explained why he stayed in 2007.
"I looked around, and the persons we had wanted to take over, but they said they weren't ready, so the succession planning had to continue," he said.
He continued, "I'm not a president-for-life type of person."
The election is not the only notable date in the upcoming chess calendar.
"2019 is a special year, not necessarily for that fact that I'll be demitting office, but we celebrate our 50th year of existence as a federation," he said. "We're planning a special set of activities between February and March. In fact, we're planning to get the world leaders to come down and celebrate with us."