FIDE Master Ebrima Bah and Sira Jallow, a grade 8 student of Bakoteh upper
basic school have made history at the 43rd Chess Olympiad held in Batumi,
Ebrima Bah widely known as Kuru won eight matches of out his 11 games played while Sira Jallow became the first female Gambian chess players to win two matches at a Chess Olympiad.
The tournament took place between 23 September and 5 October 2018 with the Gambian delegation returning home last Sunday with their heads held high.
The Gambian team that left Banjul on 22 September to attend the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia was led by the president of the federation who was head of delegation and FIDE delegate for the elective congress of the world chess federation. Sasuna Mbye was head of delegation for the open sessions responsible for the welfare of players.
Teams of five male players and five female players represented the Gambia.
It was the first time the Gambia took a female team to the Olympiad with the female players being student selected from across the country.
Speaking to Sasuna Mbye, first vice president if the Gambia Chess Federation, said they successfully attended the Olympiad.
He added that this was their fourth appearance at the Chess Olympiad with their first appearance dating back in 1986 in which 2 Gambian players were rated as Candidate Masters.
Mr Mbye said their second appearance came in 2014 in Oslo in which Ebrima Bah was rated as Candidate Master.
In 2016 he went on that they also attended the Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan and 2 players attained Candidate Masters rating while Ebrima Bah was elevated to FIDE Master,
He further said that in Batumi Georgia, Kuru did extremely well by setting a record after winning 8 out of 11 matches he played, adding that they are hopeful he will be elevated from FIDE Master to International Master which will be a plus for the Gambia as Nigeria is the only country within the sub-region ahead of the Gambia in rating.
Commenting on Sira’s achievement he said her name will go down in history as the first female Gambian chess player to win two matches at an Olympiad. He stated that the federation is pleased to come out with such an achievement.
“Our girls are young and we need to expose them because they are not very experienced”, he highlighted, saying they took the female team to Georgia to encourage young aspiring female chess players and students to take up the sport which is a mind game.
He described chess as a game that helps to nurture one’s general comportment within the society as well as in education, saying research has proved that students who play chess in school excel more in math than those who do not play chess.
He also said that arrangements are high with the ministry of education to involve chess in the school system.
In conclusion he said they have also set up regional structures across the country to ensure chess is brought to the doorstep of everybody.