Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2015 Contents B1
SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2015
In a recent address by Minister of Sport Brent Sancho, the minister said he is "very in-
terested in the idea of introducing chess clubs in schools where they don't already exist,"
and he promised to build a Chess Complex/Centre for the T&T Chess Association. This is a
huge fillip for the sport of chess in T&T.
Along with that, another significant boost was provided when 17-year-old Javanna
Smith was recently named Junior Sportswoman of the Year for 2014, at the First Citizens
Sport Foundation Youth Awards Gala Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
In copping the First Citizens award Smith prevailed over 16 other females in the various
competing categories of sport.
Prior to being awarded this prestigious honour, the then Holy Name Convent, Port-of-
Spain, student had become T&T's chess 'queen' in 2013, winning the Open National female
championship tournament, ending the seven-year reign of Aditi Soondarsingh.
In 2014, she became T&T's first-ever Woman Fide (Fédération Internationale des
Échecs or World Chess Federation) Master after she finished third in the women's compe-
tition at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Under-20 Championships in Costa
She also 'captured' five victories in ten games at the Chess Olympiad in Norway. At the
Pan American Games in Mexico she won three matches and drew four and was also T&T's
Under-20 and Under-18 female champion.
Hers is a rise to the top from her first overseas competition in Florida in the Under-7
category in 2005, and winning locally in her age group for every year since then. In 2006
she participated in her first Pan Am games in Ecuador and won bronze at the CAC games
in El Salvador.
She has represented T&T at four consecutive Olympiads in Germany, Russia, Turkey
and Norway. In 2012 she checkmated her way to T&T's only women's gold medal at the
first Carifta Chess Championships held in Trinidad and Under-15 silver at the Pan Am
Games in Venezuela.
In 2013 she took silver in the Under-16 category at Carifta in Jamaica and silver again at
Under-17 level at Pan Am in Trinidad.
Q: Where were you
born and where did
you grow up?
A: I was born in Maraval
and grew up in Maraval
What schools did you attend?
Holy Name Convent Second-
ary, 2009-2015, and Holy Name
Preparatory School, 2003-2009.
What are your hobbies and
interests other than chess, of
I also enjoy playing League of
Legends, an online game, with
my friends, as well as reading
fiction based books.
How did you become so
involved in playing chess?
My father taught all four sib-
lings to play chess, as he is the
general secretary for Fide on the
American Continent. He would
drag us along to almost all official
tournaments. They were also
champions in their age groups
and won CAC medals in El Sal-
vador and Puerto Rico so I had
lots of learning also with them.
Tell us about your inspiration
and motivation to play chess
and becoming so good at it.
Primarily, the only reason I
played chess was because I had
no other alternative. My dad put
me in it, and I couldn't get out
so I figured it made no sense to
play badly, and so I didn't resist
playing the sport (laughing).
However as time progressed, I
saw it as a fun activity; many of
my friendships were made at
chess. The game itself got more
interesting, and as I got better,
I slowly began to grow a liking
towards it since I started seeing
myself progress over the years. I
was never exactly motivated at
one point, it's all been a journey
where I got better and better at
the sport, and that in itself moti-
What are some of the chal-
lenges you face as a chess play-
er?There are two main challenges.
First would be managing school
work and chess training. Second
would be getting funding for
training and travel abroad to rep-
resent the country at interna-
tional events. Half of the time
my parents would have to pay
for my trips, airfare, accommo-
dation, meals, training etc. More
support from the Ministry of
Sport and Youth Affairs would
be greatly appreciated for my
Continues on page B34
WITH NASSER KHAN
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