Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 28th 2016 Contents Criteria used to select players for special
awards must be scrupulously and trans-
They must not be formulated in a way
that could favour one candidate over anoth-
er. For this reason it seems to DR and other
concerned persons that the rules governing
the nomination of players for First Citizens
Bank Sports Foundation s Junior Male Player
of the Year Award need to be independently
reviewed and readjusted to meet the
demands of justice and fair play.
How indequate the selection criteria are
in this respect may now be seen in the
nomination of 16-year-old FM Joshua John-
son over eight-year-old CM Rayden Ram-
persad for this significant award based on
their 2015 performances.
Let us first consider the major reason
given by Keevin James, chairman of the
three-member Independent Committee
assigned the task of nominating a candidate
for the FCB Award.
In reply to a query from Rayden s father
over the nomination, James observed that
"though Rayden s performances were exem-
Thursday, January 28, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
plary and his
recognition, you will
appreciate that he
must be compared
to others who have
The attempt is to
be as objective as
possible, hence the
noted that Rayden s
in the first category of the criteria (which weighted
the heaviest) were not good enough.
To illustrate, he pointed out that Joshua placed a
close second in the national championships. "This
is the culmination of a process especially designed
to determine who is the best player in the country
and he was the runner up. And this is playing against
all the best players in the country, not just juniors.
I think particularly in this section the rubric produced
the right result."
Sadly, however, it appears that James and his com-
mittee employed a rubric that, instead of producing
the right result, seems rather unfair to young Ram-
The fact is they used the result of a senior tour-
nament as the major criterion by which to decide
on their candidate for the Junior Male Player of the
As one commentator observed: "This alone is dis-
advantageous to Rayden as he is only eight years old
and could not be expected to compete effectively
against senior players." Given the same circumstances
and the same criteria, it would seem that the chances
of a young player such as Rayden gaining the nom-
ination for the FCB junior award would be slim
Already, the deck seems stacked against him.
By comparison, Rayden s achievements have made
indelible chess history. Apart from his successes in
tournaments at home and abroad, including the
Under-8 Absolute National Youth Championship,
Rayden became the youngest player in the country
to earn a FIDE rating (1448).
Later, at the CAC Youth Chess Festival, he gained
the FIDE title of Candidate Master and the Silver
Medal for placing second. Again, he was the youngest
TT player to earn such a distinction.
The eight-year-old chess star, in fact, has become
an inspiration for the younger generaion of players.
The apparent lack of transparency in this Inde-
pendent Committee s decision is another worrying
matter for Rayden s supporters.. Not content with
this outcome, David Martin, Rayden s coach and
head of the GMPS Chess Club, requested from the
T&T Chess Association the full calculation used to
arrive at the nomination. "We were presented with
an unsatisfactory answer via Bhisham Soondarsingh,"
He believes that in a matter such as this, where
players are being selected for prestigious awards, the
process should not only be transparent but also
accountable to all the parties concerned.
Other questions have been asked about this nom-
ination process which, in DR s view, need to be prop-
erly aired in the interest of correction and improve-
Why, for example, were the criteria for selection
not brought before a TTCA general meeting for dis-
cussion and formal approval? Why was Naresh Bhola,
a member of the Association s management com-
mittee, appointed as the third member of the "Inde-
pendent Selection Committee"? Is the country s
chess community so lacking in individual unattached
members of experience and proven integrity?
"Justice must not only be done, it must also be
seen to be done". This principle is valid not only in
Rough deal for young Rayden?
CM Rayden Rampersad
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