Sun | Jan 19, 2020

Girl power - WIM Richards-Porter inspiring next generation of female chess players

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 12:34 AM
Winners of the WIM DRP Ladies Chess Tournament.
Winners of the WIM DRP Ladies Chess Tournament.

Ten-time National Women’s Champion, six-time Chess Olympian, Subzonal winner, coach, arbiter, and proprietor of R & Chess Academy, Woman International Master Deborah Richards-Porter is actively working to grow the participation of girls in sport on the local and international stage.

As one of only two women chess players in the English-speaking Caribbean to be awarded the Woman International Master (WIM) title, WIM Richards-Porter is still the strongest and most decorated female player the English-speaking Caribbean has ever produced. It is, therefore, no surprise that Jamaica’s only all-female open chess tournament is named in her honour.

“I recall playing in my first set of tournaments and scored 0 points,” Richards-Porter said at the presentation ceremony at the WIM DRP Ladies Chess Tournament held recently. “Seven months later, I won my first National Women’s Chess Championship title and I was off to Slovenia for my first Chess Olympiad. It wasn’t magic, just serious determination. I want females to understand that being female doesn’t limit them, they are capable of doing and becoming whatever they want, but they’ll have to work for it. They have to not only work hard but they also have to work smart. But the biggest obstacle they will have to cross is the one in their mind and that’s what makes chess so fantastic; it teaches you, among other things, how to move past those obstacles.”

Fourteen-year-old Campion College student Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Raehanna Brown was the grand winner in the FIDE Open Section after finishing on four points from five games. She narrowly edged out Amy Stephenson and Aaliyah Yankana, who finished on 3.5 and 2.5 points, respectively. This was just one of the national female junior champion’s most recent accomplishments after being awarded her WCM title last week by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

In the high-school section, Gabriella Watson finished undefeated on 5.5 points to claim the first place trophy over Danielle Rose and Kaity Gayle. The under-12 category, on the other hand, had joint leaders but Paris McKay copped first place over Sarita Mair on tiebreakers.

WCM Zaina O’Connor reigned as the champion of the Under-10 section on six points while Raeann Atkinson finished ahead of Kaia Gayle after both players were tied with five points each. WCM-elect Victoria Salazar was victorious in her first local tournament since her CAC performance in Honduras; she ended the Under-8 section with six points ahead of I-Jeanae Lloyd and Tahaylia Williams.

The ‘Best School’ Award was won by Immaculate Conception Preparatory.