Kael Samual Bisnath, a Form Three student of Presentation College, Chaguanas placed first in the Under-14 Open of the Central American and Caribbean Games Youth Chess Festival held at Cascadia Hotel, August 13 – 20.
The event had participation from 230 players from 15 countries and hosts T&T won six medals, with Kael earning one of the two gold medals. Kael also earned the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation Master Title, the third highest title a chess player can gain, Grandmaster being the highest.
The 14-year-old chess champion, a parishioner of St Philip and St James RC Church, Chaguanas, responded to a few questions from The Catholic News.
Q. How do you feel about winning the U14 and FIDE Master Title?
A. I feel very happy for this personal accomplishment. This was one of my goals to achieve this title. There is still a lot of work to be done and I am working on it.
Q. Tell us briefly about your preparations?
A. My preparations involved personal coaching, personal study and preparation and competing at various tournaments.
Q. What does player strategy entail?
A. Player strategy involves discipline, dedication, continuous training, hard work, and assessment to improve your game at all levels.
Q. How many competitors did you go against to place first?
A. I participated in the under 14 category which consisted of nine rounds /competitors. At the end of the seventh round, I had won against seven competitors and was ahead by two points with two games to spare. I drew my eighth game, to be sure of the win with the eighth competitor. The first two competitors were from Trinidad and Tobago, the second two were from Jamaica, the fifth was from the Dominican Republic, sixth was from Panama, seventh from Suriname, eighth from Costa Rica and ninth from Guyana.
Q. Have you won other competitions?
A. I have won several other tournaments such as: The FCB T&T Primary Schools Chess Championship 2019, Open Junior Point Fortin Chess Tournament 2019, Princes Town Little Masters Under 14 2019, Najarah
Rahaman Memorial 2019 Under 12; Trinidad And Tobago Police Youth Club 2021 Open Under 12, Trinidad And Tobago Chess Association National Individual Primary School Rapid Championship 2021, Trinidad And Tobago International Open 2022 Under 20 Absolute, Under 16 Chess Olympiad Invitational Qualifier May 2023.
Q. How long have you been playing chess?
A. I have been playing chess for the past seven years.
Q. How were you introduced to it?
A. My dad introduced me to chess. Sometime after, a chess club was formed at my primary school Montrose Government Primary School with Mrs Sandy Razack. I started competing in 2018.
Q. Who’s your favourite chess idol?
A. My favourite chess idol is Magnus Carlsen.
Q. If you have a choice to play against one Grandmaster, who would it be and why?
A. I would like to play against Grand Master Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa because he is close to my age and his achievements at the highest level in chess.
Bisnath thanked [former parish priest] Fr Derek Anton for his prayers, guidance, and best wishes.
By Lara Pickford-Gordon