Once in a while, we get the chance to spend time with a young person who truly inspires us to be and do more. One such young lady is 17-year-old Qiyu Zhou, the reigning Canadian Women’s Chess Champion. She also holds the titles of Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and FIDE Master (FM). Qiyu arrives in Jamaica this week to participate in the first-ever Jamaica International Chess Festival to be held in Kingston from Oct 13-15. While here, Qiyu, along with three other International Youth Grandmasters, will visit schools, give a motivational talk, and play against local youth in the grand finale Chess tournament. We had a chat with Qiyu as she prepares to come to Jamaica. Of all the chess titles you have won, which is your most memorable and why? The World Youth Chess Championships in South Africa when I won the gold medal in 2014, for sure, was my most memorable one. It was quite, literally, a dream come true because I’ve had that goal since I was about five. Just the feeling of being on the stage and standing on the podium with a gold medal – it’s a pretty good feeling. What is it about chess that you love? I really like the competitiveness factor of chess. I am a very competitive person, and I need somewhere to put all this energy. I think chess is perfect for this because I can direct my attention when I want to. My passion for chess lies in all the things that chess brings to me. It’s a lot about the outside factors of the game – the friends I’ve made and the number of opportunities it has given me. I’ve been able to travel to so many places, and if I didn’t play chess, I would never have gone to South Africa or Iran or half of these countries that I have been to. How do you prepare for a chess match, and what do you do to keep your focus when playing? I usually look over my opponents’ games and then think about what I’m going to do. But outside of chess, I do a lot of exercise and eat well. I eat a lot, actually. And I sleep considerably more during chess tournaments than I do during regular school time. When I’m playing, I keep thinking, “I really want to win this”, so my mind is on the game. It’s sometimes really difficult to keep your focus because the games last a long time. So I drink a lot of water and I walk a lot. I wonder around the halls. It helps to keep my mind fresh. Do you prefer to play long or short games? I like to play all types of chess. I don’t really have a preference. It really depends on the occasion. With friends, of course, I prefer to play Blitz Chess, but in tournaments, I would rather play long games. I don’t play Blitz or Rapid Chess tournaments very often. Were you surprised by your invitation to Jamaica, and what are you most looking forward to about your visit? Yeah! I was very, very excited! I’m very excited to see the country. It’s my first time in the Caribbean, and from what I’ve heard, the place is amazing, and, of course, it’s warm there. And just the whole Caribbean mindset. So, it’s going to be a really neat experience. I’m most looking forward to being able to experience the culture of Jamaica. As a youth champion, how do you hope to inspire the children you will meet in Jamaica? I’m very excited to be able to give speeches and to teach the local youth about chess and show them what it means to play chess. I really want to encourage them to chase their dreams. It doesn’t have to be as a world chess champion, but to give them the idea that if they want to do something, they can do it if they put in the effort and put their minds to it and really focus – to give their lives purpose. Many may argue that competitive chess is not a sport. Do you agree or disagree with this and why? I’ve debated this topic with many people, but for me, chess is a sport because I’m playing this game to win! I want to win. I want to be the best at what I do. I put a lot of energy into it and I try hard. So just as any runner would have a strategy on how to run his race, I have to approach chess in the same way. Chess is surprisingly very tiring. In a previous interview you mentioned that you wanted to be an ambassador. If you were to become one today, what world issue would you seek to address? I really want to address the disparity between the rich and poor. I’ve travelled a lot and seen a lot of different aspects of the world. For example, in South Africa, I was staying in a very fancy hotel on the coast with beautiful beaches, and then there were quite a few beggars there as well. It was a very stark contrast to my own circumstances. So I want to address what causes these problems. I want to do something that matters. Qiyu wants to study economics and, hopefully, follow her dreams of attending Harvard University after high school. She dreams of making a real difference in the world, living by her personal motto: “If you try really hard, and if you work for it, you’ll probably get there.” For more information about Qiyu Zhou and the Jamaica International Chess Festival, please visit www.jamaicachessfestival.com.
Adams emphasised the point that this season will again be played on the return format, and, therefore, the players should up their production to match the opportunity of playing more matches. Back in the days of one round of matches when players used to appear in only four matches, the good batsmen used to score 500 and more runs per season, hit two or three centuries per season, and averaged anywhere from 80 to 100 runs per season. The pitches were good back then, and so were the bowlers – especially fast bowlers like Winston Davis, Courtney Walsh, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Uton Dowe, Colin Croft, Sylvester Clarke, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Anthony Gray, Wayne Daniel, Vanburn Holder, Ian Bishop, Patrick Patterson, Anthony Merrick, and George Ferris. Adams is asking the batsmen to go beyond reeling off a few good strokes, and having one or two good innings, and he is also asking the bowlers – especially the fast bowlers – to push themselves beyond the token few overs at the start of an innings, or when, and if, the second new-ball arrives. Adams’ plea is one for West Indies cricket. West Indies cricket needs batsmen who can bat, batsmen who can bat for long periods, batsmen who can bat ‘until the cows come home’, and batsmen who can make big scores, and more than once at that. West Indies cricket also needs bowlers – spin bowlers and fast bowlers, but mostly fast bowlers – those who, perhaps, with the stamina and skill, are able to bowl for long spells, as Wes Hall did for a day (rain-affected) at Lord’s in 1963. The plea goes out not only to the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, and Roston Chase, but to Kieron Powell, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Hope, Jason Mohammed, and Evin Lewis; also to others like Chadwick Walton, Shimron Hetmeyer, Sunil Ambris, Brandon King, Rajindra Chandrika, Andre McCarthy, Yanic Carriah, Jahmar Hamilton, Tangerine Chanderpaul, Anthony Alleyne, John Campbell, Fabian Allen, Iasiah Raja, and Paul Palmer, and all the other young, promising batsmen in the region. It also goes out to the young bowlers, and especially the young fast bowlers, to the likes of Alzaari Joseph, Ronsford Beaton, Oshane Thomas, Odean Smith, Reynard Leveridge, Delorn Johnson, Keon Joseph, and Marquino Mindley. Now is the time for young players to step up to the plate. The selectors are watching, or they should be watching. The regional four-day tournament gets going on Thursday, and for the next three months or so, it will be cricket and more cricket as the six first-class teams, playing return matches for a total of 10 matches each, vie for supremacy. The first round of matches – defending champions Guyana Jaguars hosting Jamaica Scorpions; Barbados Pride entertaining Trinidad and Tobago Red Force; and Windward Island Volcanoes at home to Leeward Island Hurricanes – should be close and exciting. The matches should be close and exciting if only because of the cricket organisers’ movement of players around, the move to split the sovereign territories into franchises, and the hope for better cricket following this move. As the teams begin battle, however, the main hope is that the pitches will be good and that the standard of play will be refreshingly good and generally of a high standard. A few weeks ago, the Windies director of cricket, the former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, came out pleading, and in the plea, he called for the cricketers, especially the younger ones, to come out fighting, to stamp their class on the competition, and to show the quality they possess. And Adams should know what it means to show everybody and all concerned how good a cricketer one is by performing in the regional competition. As a schoolboy at Jamaica College, he was not looked upon as someone special, and as a young man representing Kingston Club and Jamaica, he was not looked upon as someone special until he made runs, and more runs, in the regional competition. Adams went on to become Jamaica’s captain, the West Indies captain, coach of Jamaica, coach of Kent, and now he is the director of cricket in the West Indies. As Ralston Otto, and others, found out, it does not follow that making runs will get anyone into the West Indies team. On the contrary, however, it is hardly likely, despite the promise one may display and what may have happened a few times, that anyone, or someone, will get into the West Indies team without making runs, and plenty of them, or otherwise performing. UP PRODUCTION
OPTIMISTIC ISKA President, Cory Schafer, who believes Jamaica could host up to 4,000 visitors staying up to two weeks on the island for the event and holidays after, stopped at the colourful booth to express his optimism based on the good reviews from the 2014 World Cup in Montego Bay. “It’s not a theme-park experience like the US Open, which is held in Disney, making it extremely attractive to children and parents alike. However, for martial arts tournaments, the majority of the competitors are children travelling with parents. In that regard, Montego Bay is a beautiful place to go to a tournament and spend the next week,” he said. Gavin Stewart, a member of the organising committee who also worked on the 2014 ITF World Cup, said pamphlets displaying Jamaican attractions were fast movers. “A lot of interest has been shown, especially from persons already registered and coming from the United States,” he explained. “They are really interested in activities post-tournament and grabbing brochures about tours to Kingston and the different attractions in the Montego Bay area,” Stewart pointed out. Stewart and his team were busy attending to interest being shown by South Africans and Australians, most of whom have already registered, booked flights and enquired about accommodation at the tournament’s partner hotel, the Holiday Inn. “There is Team Trinidad as well, plus England and Germany are in dialogue to finalise their participation. However, the Europeans, from the 2014 World Cup experience, tend to register late, so we are expecting major registrations at the end of July,” Stewart explained. Apart from winning 41 medals – 12 gold, nine silver and 20 bronze – at this year’s International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association (ISKA) United States Open World Martial Arts Championships in Orlando, Florida, Jamaica was also a big hit off the mat, showcasing one of the most-visited promotional booths at the Coronado Resort. Decorated with the unmistakable green, gold and black of Jamaican flags, the booth promoting ISKA’s Amateur Members Association World Championships, set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 13-15, drew more interest from spectators and competitors than that of a major retailer of martial arts equipment, set-up at the opposite end of the competition hall. Jason McKay, Jamaica’s ISKA representative and promoter of the event, said Jamaica’s booths never fail to pull crowds, pointing to the booth that was set up in Benidorm, Spain, at the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Championship in 2013 promoting the World Cup a year later in Jamaica. “It’s always huge, a perfect promotional vehicle for our tournament and to also promote Jamaica at the same time. It created exposure for the product and had a significant [appeal] to push the ITF World Cup, primarily participation from Europe,” he said.
Today’s games Tivoli Gardens FC coach, Omar Edwards, says the return of night games to the Edward Seaga Complex, after an extended break, will be a source of inspiration and motivation for his players when they step out against Humble Lion in their mid-week Red Stripe Premier League fixture at the Edward Seaga Complex this evening at 7 o’clock. The west Kingston-based club has not played a night game at home since 2013 and Edwards, who has never coached a home game under lights said there was a real buzz around training in anticipation of today’s night fixture. “Today’s game will mark the return of night games under lights at the venue and this has lifted the mood at the club and the players are looking forward to it. “We have had some training sessions under the lights and the players are very motivated so I am hoping for a good game,” he said. Tivoli lead the league with 16 points, two more than Portmore United and Mount Pleasant Academy on 14 points each, and Edwards anticipates a tough encounter from the in-form Humble Lion who have two wins from their last two games. “Humble Lion started the season badly but have been gaining some momentum. They are on a high just now and we are looking to bring our ‘A’ game so we can get the best result possible. They possess good quality players but we want to continue what we are doing, which is to maintain our winning form and stay on top of the league,” he said “Humble Lion play with a very mobile midfield and it will be our responsibility to not only play well in defence but also in the middle of the pitch, and when we create our chances we must be able to capitalise on them,” Edwards added. L.S. – 3 p.m: Mount Pleasant vs Reno – Drax Hall – 7 p.m: Harbour View vs Cavalier – Harbour View – 7 p.m: Tivoli vs Humble Lion
Personality profileYonnick Lugard Adolph is a 25-year-old Linden-born Guyanese, now residing on the East Coast of Guyana who loves music and art. He is a young Christian producer, songwriter, singer and lead keyboardist for the well-known Samuel Medas, who has been behind the scenes for years in the Guyana gospel music industry.Adolph’s music is his signature, and with direction from the Holy Spirit, he expresses himself in the Reggae Gospel, Worship, Dancehall Gospel and Pop genres. He recently released his second single ‘’You & Me”, produced by Jeremy Vantul at the Paradigm Studio from his upcoming EP project ‘’To the Author’’ that is set to be released in October.Songs like ‘’Meh Best Friend’’, “The Praise Song” from the Reveal Album and “He Saved me” are among the tracks Adolph has recorded and can be found on his YouTube page, SoundCloud and ReverbNation.
So much has happened during this year and what better way to close off the year than with Uncensored. On December 29 and 30, the show will be pushing comedy beyond the boundaries. It is the only one of its kind in Guyana.It’s comedy in its purest form; there is no holding back. All the pertinent issues, all the hot topics, the comedians get an opportunity to express themselves while at the same time feeling comfortable doing so. Of course it’s an adult only show.Uncensored has been an eagerly anticipated event triggering overwhelming responses from the public. This annual show has earned a high place as the foremost event in stand-up comedy with overwhelming box office pull.The show is an attempt at removing certain limitations and allowing comedians the liberty of expressing themselves, and making the kind of jokes they would not otherwise be allowed to make anywhere else.The show will be staged at the National Cultural Centre and will see comedians competing for over $1 million in cash and prizes.The line-up of comedians includes defending champion Chris Gopaul, Lyndon “Jumbie” Jones, Michael Ignatius, Kirwyn Mars, Mark Luke Edwards, Mark Kazim, Kirk “Chow Pow” Jardine, Kirt “Chubby” Williams, Kwasi “Ace” Edmondson, Jermaine Grimmond, Malcolm “Wickedee” Ferreira and many more.Newcomers are Marlon Jacobs and Paul Burnette. The show is billed to start precisely at 20:00h. Tickets are $1000, $1500 and $2500 and are available at the National Cultural Centre.
After its premiere on July 6, 2019 at the Mackenzie Sport Club Ground, “Mommy Baby, Daddy May Be”— a theatrical presentation – has found its way to the National Cultural Centre this weekend. It is a play that is transcendent and sparks the normal questions of sexism, ironically aimed at the males.On Saturday, July 20, 16 comedians will cavort on the National Cultural Centre’s stage, living the over-the-top comedy beyond the fullest.The production is written and directed by Michael James. His hilarious satire is beautifully handled by Lois Moseley, the pregnant unfortunate lead character.She is caught between Randy Johnson and Randy Gonsalves, two multi-talented young men worth paying double to see. Into the melee is thrown a cantankerous grandmother overcome by her self-righteousness. She turns everything on its head. Granny Ivelaw plays his iconic character to the hilt. As if that was not enough, we have an undersized, egotistic pimp with a false accent, and a preacher who cannot attract anybody to his church and becomes progressively more desperate in his “laffable” quest.The play comprises some of the most hilarious scenes, and it is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat.Tickets for the show cost $2000, $1500 and $1000 and are available at Nigel’s Supermarket and the National Cultural Centre box office. This is one play that you do not want to miss.
…for Wales?n one of the (few) novels written about Guyana – then “British Guiana” – back in the 19th century, one kindly white lady commiserated over the drowning of several “poor souls” after a canoe they were travelling upriver, capsized. “Who were they?” her friend exclaimed in alarm. “Some coolies,” replied the kindly lady. “Oh!” replied her friend, as she nonchalantly continued munching on her sandwich, “Who cares?”Your Eyewitness remembered this episode as he saw the different reactions by the media and the Georgetown crowd to the parking meter scam, versus the human tragedy unfolding over on the West Bank of Demerara. Who cares about the 1700 workers on Wales thrown on the breadline? Who cares for the cane farmers of Wales who supplied one-third of the cane to Wales?It shouldn’t have to come down to comparing the suffering of different groups of Guyanese. But when the reactions are so different as we’re seeing, it compels comment. The protests in Georgetown are about a contract negotiated in secret by the City Hall cabal with the connivance of some in Central Government. It would’ve bled commuters in Georgetown for 20 years and enriched a few fat cats in City Hall. This must be protested.But what’s different about what’s going on over at Wales? There’s an estate with 14,000 acres of drained and irrigated sugar cane fields that have been abandoned. Ditto with the factory and the 1700 workers – and their families – thrown under the tractors. Ditto for the 60,000 persons who subsists on the economy anchored by Wales Estate. Nobody lost their jobs in Georgetown; their pay packets would’ve been reduced – not eliminated. For Wales, the poverty will be intergenerational.But what about the contract that’ll enrich a few fat cats in Georgetown, you ask, dear reader? Well, your Eyewitness said it right after the Wales closing was conceded: a big one from the US is hovering in the wings to pick up all that prime agricultural real estate for a pittance. And why a pittance? Well, ‘cause half of THAT contract will be siphoned off into the pockets of a few big ones in the Government and GuySuCo.And they’ll justify the pittance by ensuring the lands revert to bush and the factory collapses into a heap of scrap iron! So why the disparate reactions?We sadly have to accept, like most things in Guyana, it’s about race. But ironically, what most refuse to accept is over at Wales, those affected are almost equally Africans and Indian Guyanese.Guess they’ll have to bring their plight to Georgetown and occupy all those empty parking spaces to be noticed.…on Valentine DayYour Eyewitness must confess he’s not big on this whole Valentine hoopla. And that’s exactly why – it’s just a hoopla, which, to make it worse, was manufactured by the folks that still bring you Hallmark cards and Cadbury chocolates. Of course, over the years, the diamond folks joined in on the Valentine Conga dance.Now don’t get him wrong… your Eyewitness is as romantic as the other guy. It’s just the commercialisation of “love” on this day takes it to ridiculous depths. He recognises, for instance, the music industry’s also dominated by romantic songs and these are pushed by commercial entities. But somehow they’ve allowed the human, individual element to still shine through.The NWA in “Straight outta Compton” could still tell it like it is about what went down in the ghetto. Even Beyoncé is allowed to express herself on Jay Z’s stepping out.But Valentine? It’s all packaged treacle! But what the heck… he’ll take his better half to dinner. But no red and whites! A line has to be drawn somewhere!…about the political angst?Another thing your Eyewitness is cynical about is the political hypocrisy in his beloved country. After all the placards and posturings on the parking meters, those folks out in the streets will still cleave along racial lines come 2020.
…Security reaction to water-banditsCrime’s always been around – including violent crime. But in the first decade of this millennium, it took a whole new dimension with the entry of armed criminal gangs. Mass killings became routine. The denouement came in early 2008, when the Lusignan Massacre took 13 lives; the Bartica Massacre took 15. But Guyanese demanded action to stop Guyanese lives from being snuffed out by criminal gangs which had absolutely no regard for human lives. Within months, the PPP govt-directed Joint Forces had tracked down the killer gang through the jungles and into the coast and executed all its members. The swift response obviously sent such a salutary message to wannabe gang-killer miscreants that none have raised their heads since.So what’s going to be the response to the “piracy” massacre of 16 fishermen last week?? When this PNC-led Government slid into office in 2015, “piracy” had been a persistent problem on the Corentyne Coast. Unlike the pirates of old, like Captain Morgan — who’ve been romanticised through the ages for robbing the bullion-loaded Spanish Galleons on behalf of his country — these Guyanese “pirates” can be better described as “water-bandits”. They’re lowlife bottom feeders who prey on poor fishermen grubbing for a living. Their families depend on them, as they take grave risks to bring in their catch from the wild Atlantic at nights.Generally, the water-bandits brandish cutlasses as they intercept fishing boats laden with catch at the mouth of the Corentyne River. It might not be widely known, but Suriname owns the River all the way to our bank – to where the water reaches at low tide, all the way to 61 Village. That’s right…when you swim out beyond that mark at 63 Beach, you’re in Suriname!! Anyhow all over the Corentyne, fisher folks were at risk from these water-bandits.The PNC coalition Government – ensconced into office on the backs of the Khemraj Ramjattan AFC, with votes from Berbice, including those from the fearful fishermen – appointed him as Minister of Public Security. Being from 43 Village, he assured the Corentyne fisher folks he’d eliminate the problem. In June 2015 – only a month after being in office — he went down to Berbice with a phalanx of Policemen and informed the Upper Corentyne Chamber that the most effective solution would be to give the fishermen guns to protect themselves.He claimed patrols by ship or helicopters would be too expensive to upkeep in what he called a “Wild West” situation in the fishing grounds. Like the cowboys of yore, the fishermen had to be armed.Well, we understand Ramjattan’s finally decided to visit the Corentyne.Where are the guns that could’ve prevented the massacre?? Blood might be on Ramjattan’s hands.…top Judicial appointmentsAsked what he’s doing about making permanent appointments to the two top Judicial positions – the Chancellor and the Chief Justice – PNC Leader and President of Guyana, David Granger, said, “The ball’s in Jagdeo’s court”!! Imagine that!! Clearly, Granger doesn’t accept that, being President of Guyana, that role trumps being the Leader of the PNC.Because to treat the top judicial appointments as a “game” of tennis — wherein one just lob balls to get the advantage over the opponent — is to miss the central point of being president: to do the right thing for Guyana, NOT the PNC! And what’s the “right thing” for Guyana, rather than crass gamesmanship?? Suggest Judicial nominees to the Leader of the Opposition, who’s not prima facie objectionable.Honestly, after packing every possible state position with old (and we mean ooollllddd!!) army buddies, how can Granger think another ex-officer – who imbibed his personal teachings on Burnham’s supremacy doctrine in the army – can be acceptable as Chancellor??But then it’s all a game, isn’t it? Politrics!!…amends??Granger’s bigging up of Indian contribution had to’ve been as PNC leader – with one eye on 2020. If he was being President of Guyana, he would’ve offered some hope of employment for the workers at Highbury — fired with Rose Hall’s closure.
…in sugar industryThe “snake oil salesman” is an American trope describing those conmen who prey on the afflicted gullible by insisting their snake oil will cure everything. President Granger typifies the species in the political realm with his unctuous and ingratiating style, in which he never fails to have a plaster for every sore. Problem is, some desperate citizens, faced with the mountain of problems they face daily, listen to him and sometimes forget it was he who created the problems in the first place.Remember that promise to fix blackouts, which had been reduced to just an irritant by the PPP? That’s snake oil; since he created the Stygian darkness we’re in when he absolutely refused to have his PNC sign off on the 165MW Amaila Hydro — which would have had enough power to satisfy our TOTAL electricity needs — causing the developer, Sithe, to walk away.Remember his promise to reduce Presidential power and transfer some to his PM, Nagamootoo?? That’s snake oil WITH Larwah!! Stop corruption? Constitutional change? There’s been so much snake oil flowing from Granger’s mouth that Guyana is probably bereft of labarias by now!!Anyhow, let’s take his foray into Berbice – Albion Sugar Factory, to be precise – to sell his snake oil on the sugar industry. He chose his audience well, the management of the estate and factory, who’re ultimately employed by him!! Were they going to point out he was emanating more hot air than the nearby chimney – and even more polluted?!Donning a hard hat as his prop, he promised his captive audience, “I have come to fix things”!! Yes, he, David Granger, whose only experience with the sugar industry was when he provided scab labour to break GAWU’s strike for recognition in 1976, had come to “fix” sugar! Well, he’d already “fixed” it, hadn’t he?? Put it in a fix, that is!! He then went on to declare: “GuySuCo will not merely survive, it will thrive”!! Rivers of snake oil. It’s a good thing his audience had on “long boots”!!How exactly is he going to save sugar?? He’d rejected his expert CoI’s recommendation to stabilise all seven estates and bring them to a point of sale. But he now says that, after the $30 billion bond funds are invested, sugar production costs will be reduced to US.30 cents/kg! How is that a “fix” when the present world price for sugar is US .26 cents/kg and falling?!? But then, he’s never worked to produce anything to sell, and had his salary paid for by the state, plus his education at UG!!But even snake oil salesmen can’t fool all the people all the time, can they? Hence Granger’s desperate efforts to delay elections!…calling it quitsWell, Granger may just be looking at his future when he read that his old YSM pal Ivelaw Griffith has decided to withdraw his application to be re-appointed VC at UG!!Good riddance to a bad administrator!! Folks across the world were amazed when Papa Doc, and later his son Baby Doc, lived in a style that Marie Antoinette would’ve envied while millions of their citizens were forced to live like beasts in the forest.Well, in a nutshell, that’s what Griffith tried to emulate at UG. Imagine, our only tertiary institution – with the lowest paid academic staff in the region – couldn’t even provide toilet paper for students!! But yet he had a salary with benefits that rivalled the President of the country, and created his own “Cabinet” to bring home the point!! He and his Cabinet’s salaries, on a per capita basis, were DOUBLE those of the academic staff.But your Eyewitness is surprised the VC was reported as having “walked away”.Wasn’t that “flew away” – first class??…on Linden-Lethem HighwayRaphael Trotman is Minister of Natural Resources. So how come he’s announcing, “International firms express interest to build Linden-Lethem road”?? Where’s MPI Patterson? Adding up foreign deposits into his account?And what happened to the China BRI?? Snake oil!!