The trio of national chess team players from The Bahamas who earned FIDE (World Chess Federation) titles has returned home from the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad. Earning conditional titles were Nelissa Thomas, Trinity Pinder and Noah Albury.
The three players were in action in some intense games in Chennai, India, from July 29 to August 10. There were 2,000-plus participants from 187 countries in the competition. Thomas and Pinder earned the Woman Candidate Master (WCM) conditional titles and Albury has earned the Candidate Master (CM) conditional title.
On January 1 of this year, FIDE made a change to the conferring of FIDE titles at the Olympiad, so that all titles will now be conditional. During past Olympiads, players were automatically conferred titles.
Thomas, who went in unrated, scored 5.5 points from nine games as she won five games and drew one.
“It is a surreal feeling that came as a very pleasant surprise. I am humbled and honored to have the WCM title,” Thomas said.
Pinder, who had a rating of 1,183, wrapped up competition with 3.5 points in eight games after winning three games and drawing one.
“The feeling of earning the WCM title is something I can only describe as extraordinary. I am so proud of myself,” Pinder said. “I am overwhelmed with pride.”
She said she learned that any player is beatable and she can accomplish that against anyone once she takes her time and analyzes her games.
Albury was the youngest on the Open team and went into the competition with a 1,324 rating. The 16-year-old went on to score 4.5 points out of the seven games he played. He won four games and drew one.
“I was surprised and proud of myself when I achieved the award. Going into the Olympiad, I didn’t expect to do so well. I was happy to exceed my expectations,” Albury said.
President of the Bahamas Chess Federation (BCF) Kendrick Knowles said he is happy for the accomplishment of the team, particularly the three players who earned FIDE titles.
“We achieved two
conditional WCM titles and one CM title. I am excited to see players are already expressing ways to prepare and train for Olympiad 2024 in Budapest, Hungary,” said Knowles.
First Vice President of BCF Curtis Pride commented on the change of the FIDE titles criteria.
“Ratings are difficult, considering the small pool of players locally, but doable. The Bahamas Chess Federation is committed to providing more opportunities for our players to play and win in international, FIDE rated competitions,” he said.
For 25-year-old Thomas, she has been playing chess for 16 years but took a break from the sport for six years, so she can focus on her studies. She is back on the chess scene and said she enjoyed the experience in India. She plans to improve.
“I plan on practicing chess tactics daily, reading more chess books, and watching more chess videos to improve my skills. I aim to participate more in local tournaments and continue to sharpen my skills to hopefully participate in the next Olympiad,” Thomas said.
This was her first time making an Olympiad team.
At the beginning of the tournament, Albury said he was nervous but as the tournament went on, he got confident. He said he has learned some valuable lessons for the future.
“I have learned that even though I was successful at the Olympiad, there is still so much more I can learn about the game of chess. There were many players who were a lot better than I was and this showed me that there is still so much more growing and training that I have to do as a chess player. My goal for the next year is to increase my rating,” Albury said.
Pinder is now 18 years old and has been playing chess for the past nine years. She said she enjoyed the Indian culture and is motivated to play more games.
“What I enjoyed most about being in India was interacting with the
different cultures and people of the world but, most of all, the food and the games I played,” Pinder said. “I am 110 percent more motivated to strengthen my chess skills because next for me is attaining a higher title than WCM. I now know that anything is possible through hard work and dedication.”
All three players said they were happy to represent The Bahamas at the tournament.
By earning titles at 44th FIDE Olympiad, the three players have demonstrated that they have chess skills on par with the best in the world. They now must show their dedication and that they deserve these prestigious titles by attaining a minimum rating. For Thomas and Pinder, they must have a minimum rating of 1,800 and Albury must have a minimum of 2,000.