On Sunday, January 21st, 2024 a new Bahamas National Chess Champion was made also!! The 16-year-old Avian Pride, who is also the current National Junior Chess Champion and the Scholastic Champion is now also the National Chess
Champion and the country’s first qualifier for the upcoming Chess Olympiad that will be held in Budapest, Hungary this September.

Avian, along with his siblings, Curtis Jr. and Chika Pride who also qualified to compete in this tournament, is trained by Elton Joseph and BGT Chess Club. The tournament’s seven competitors, which included last year’s National Champion, Valentine Cox, provided a stellar
performance that resulted in tough competition, as expected being among the best of the best on the island. Also bidding for the championship were Dr. Joseph Ferguson, Dr. Kenville Lockhart, Shawn Barker, Curtis Pride Jr., and Chika Pride; these competitors were not just the qualifiers for this top-tier sport but proved that they were all qualified.

The results of the tournaments
Avian Pride 5 points
Joseph Ferguson 4.5 points
Valentine Cox 3 points
Shawn Barker 2 points
Curtis Pride Jr. 1.5 points
Chika Pride 2.5 points
Kenville Lockhart 2.5
Avian Pride 1st place
Dr Joseph Ferguson 2nd place
Valentine Cox 3rd Place
Chika Pride and Kenville Lockhart tied for fourth place

What do two doctors, a mathematician-physicist, a 68-year-old man, a techy uni student, a homeschooled teen who wears his hair like the imagined biblical Samson, and a 13-year-old girl have in common? They all have the moves – and that is moves of tactic and intellectual grit on the chess board, moves masterfully strategic to qualify in the 2024 Bahamas National Chess Champion tournament.

Defending Champion National Master Valentine Cox, Shawn Baker, Chika Pride, Dr. Kenville Lockhart, National Youth Champion Avian Pride, Dr. Joseph Ferguson, and Curtis Pride Jr. are some of the top chess players on the island, having proven themselves by qualifying to contend
for the prestigious title of the best chess player in the country.

Bahamas Chess Federation hosted the opening ceremony that was held at the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture complex on January 11th, and the tournament runs from 12th – 21st. The 2024 Bahamas Championship returns as an elite over-the-board event. Over the course of 7 rounds, these competitors will battle for $2,000 in prize money and the coveted title of the 2024 Bahamas National Chess Championship. The winner will automatically qualify to represent the country in the 45th Chess Olympiad which is slated to be held in late September of this year in Budapest, Hungary. The tournament is internationally classed, being a FIDE-rated event with a time control of 90 minutes with a 30-second increment after each move.

Live streaming showed that on day one of the tournament Chika Pride was paired with Curtis Pride Jr. and their performance resulted in a draw. Avian Pride was paired against Joseph Ferguson who came out as the victor. Kenville Lockhard won against Valentine Cox. Shawn
Barker had a Bye. A total of 7 rounds will determine the winner.

“Chess is for Everyone,” is a part of Bahamas Chess Federation’s President Curtis Pride Sr and his board’s mission. This year’s champion hopeful reflects this statement as a 13-year-old girl will be paired with someone 55 years her senior, a doctor, a university professor, etc. Chess is a game with zero prejudice; your opponent does not need to be your peer or size, have the same physical capabilities, or gender, or even speak the same language. An elite chess player requires a combination of strategic foresight, rigorous study, a resilient mindset to navigate the intricate complexities of the game, and an unwavering commitment to continual improvement.

Arbiters overseeing the games to ensure that the Bahamas Chess Federation standard and FIDE Laws of Chess are adhered to are IA Andre White, FA Angel Pride, and FA Elton Joseph.

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