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The SVG chess team after defeating Palau 4-0.
The SVG chess team after defeating Palau 4-0.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines team in the 44th Chess Olympiad in India remain mindful of the saying “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” even as they hope for a wonderfully polished end to their first chess Olympiad.

On Monday, for a third time in the Olympiad, SVG secured a 4-0 victory, defeating Palau in the penultimate round of the Olympiad.

On Saturday, Team SVG Chess landed Niger a 4-0 defeat as the Vincentian team landed its second clean sweep in the Olympiad, after making light work of the Central African Republic.

On Sunday, Team SVG slipped swiftly backwards, losing 3-1 to Fiji.

In Monday’s games, SVG’s Chinedu Enemchukwu’s armour glistened too much for Santiago Tan Jr., sometime after James Schneider, who took on Tito Cabunagan, handed an early checkmate, putting SVG one up. 

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SVG’s Ugur Mentes pushed the black pieces against Angelo Salvadora in a very tough battle, with Mentes at one point rubbing his head for minutes, apparently subconsciously. 

Once Salvadora gave Mentes a slight chance, Mentes seized the opportunity and chucked home Team SVG’s third win. 

This meant that Brian Cottle was challenged to deliver the knockout to Palau.

Cottle pushed and pushed but Thomas Montel Jr countered constantly until Cottle, a judge, sentenced him to undergo further training and return for assessment at the 2024 Olympiad, scheduled for Hungary.

Oris Robinson, who reserved for this match, looked after the comfort needs of his colleagues, allowing them to keep board focus intact.

Round 11 will see SVG taking the chess battlefield against Gabon.

Enemchukwu will come up against Evrard Jose Mounguen Koumba. Cottle will compete against Barthelemy Ndjila Akanga Bongo while Oris Robinson will attempt to shock the “chesslight” out of Tary Ngombele Bongo. 

James Schneider’s game will be of particular significance as he seeks to make an additional mark into the chess history books for SVG.

Schneider will have to play the best of his hand to reap greater Olympiad joy in his matchup with Ceylan Christ Odounga.

Ugur Mentes closes his Olympiad chapter for 2022 as the reserve player in the final round.

Meanwhile, in the boardroom, the continental body for chess in the Americas CCA did not host their general meeting on Sunday, as planned.

Marred by constitutional and organisational political differences of interpretation and application, the meeting had to be postponed. 

This was one of the concerns that SVG Chess Federation President Israel Bruce had raised with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich in their meeting on Thursday. 

The CCA meeting is temporarily rescheduled for October 2022 at a venue to be decided.

At the FIDE congress, also on Sunday, incumbent FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich was returned for another term in office.

The ticket of Andrii Baryshpolets and Peter-Heine Nielsen used their campaign speech to launch a tirade against Dvorkovich, a former Deputy prime minister of Russia, focusing largely on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Inalbek Cheripov and Lewis Ncube gave early indications to the electoral commission that they were discontinuing their bid for the presidency.

At the same time, Bachar Kouatly and Ian Wilkinson presented their plea for the job and at the very end, in a most bizarre way, indicated that they, too, were withdrawing their candidacy.

This left the ticket of Dvorkovich and Anand Viswanathan to do battle with Baryshpolets and Nielsen. 

The incumbent swept the challenger aside, winning 156 votes to 16, giving Dvorkovich his second term as President of FIDE.

Bruce represented SVG at the congress, which heard a number of proposals from various countries, approved the bid for Uzbekistan to host the 46th Chess Olympiad and FIDE Congress. 

Hungary also made presentations on the expectations for the 45th Olympiad to take place in Budapest in 2024.

The curtains will come down on the 44th chess Olympiad on Tuesday.