Suriname International Chess Tournament Report

As I begin, I would like to say that this Suriname Open Rotary Chess tournament, which saw participants engage in 7 rounds of play from November 24 to 27, 2011, was truly a pleasure to attend. It was well organized, well run and I really enjoyed the experience. For that, I would like to thank the organizing committee of the event, who seemed to work tirelessly over the course of the 5 day event, and who truly went out of their way to ensure that everything went smoothly; particularly for us international players.

What impressed me most about how this tournament was put together was the wide range and large number of sponsors who contributed to it, for while indeed it was primarily sponsored by the Rotary Club, many different organizations, groups and companies in Suriname chipped in as well, and of course the organizing committee needs to be acknowledged for its work in pulling together these many sponsors all for the aid of chess.

And what chess! The event itself was well attended, particularly by junior players, even with its odd placement during the school year. The masters section in which I played along with fellow Trinbagonian Marcus Joseph was also well attended, and while it's true that the majority of players in all sections were Surinamese, the international players were not at all put out by the fact!

For me, however, the highlight of the event would have been bearing witness to International Master (IM) Samy Shoker's domination of the Master's section. Taking no prisoners, IM Shoker ended on 7 out of 7 points, an impressive feat even given the field! It's always inspiring to look at the games of someone with both technical skill and the drive to win at all costs, and with the aid of a large display DGT electronic chess board, everyone in the room could appreciate the battles fought on board 1.

For my own part the chess was not a resounding success; I ended on 3 points out of 7 with two victories, two draws and three defeats, I placed 12th overall in the Master Class' field of 18 players. I am not disappointed with my play; however, I believe that for this point in the development of my game, I played the best I knew how. I suppose there was some measure of success; since I started the tournament ranked 14th, based on my international rating, and finished two places higher. Needless to say there's a long way for me to go! However, if nothing else, this event has rekindled the desire to play chess at the tournament level and train as diligently as possible. Defeats can become victories, I think, just so long as they are looked upon with the right mind-set and I am determined to make this defeat a victory!

The event ended with a very long, but interesting prize giving ceremony where we got a taste of traditional Surinamese culture and where everyone who contributed was duly appreciated.

In the Masters section, IM Samy Shoker placed first, followed by Marcus Joseph who played brilliantly with a very good showing and third was Kevin Daniel of Barbados who travelled with us on the same flight to and from the event. Fourth place went to Calvin Tjong Tjin Joe of Suriname and fifth to IM Nestor Velez Betancourt, Suriname's resident IM and junior coach. In the Ladies Section both WCM Ekatarina Naipal and Rosangela Dos Ramos, both of Suriname were able to end on 6 out of 7 points, however WCM Naipal took the prize by tie-break. In the Open Section Suriname's Immanuel Kromosoeto took first place followed closely by Jerome Harewood of Barbados.

I would like to thank all those who aided me in attending this event including the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Foundation and the Rotary Club of Maraval, as well as the Suriname Chess Association. It was truly an honor to attend and I certainly look forward to when I can next attend an event in Paramaribo!

Jayson Paul