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posted 23 Oct 2014, 06:49 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 23 Oct 2014, 06:51 ]

Comrade Frank Sears
As part of its Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, the National Workers Union (NWU) is sponsoring the first San Fernando Open Chess Tournament which is due to start on Friday 24th October and run until Sunday 2nd November at the District Scout Headquarters Embacadere, San Fernando.

NWU President, Frank Sears, conceptualised the tournament and persuaded the NWU Executive to donate a cash prize and a Challenge trophy.

Originally, the tournament was meant to be part of this year’s San Fernando City Week celebrations but even though the Mayor was approached and verbal assistance was given, the only connection now is that the tournament is coincidentally held during the city’s celebrations.

The Union is partnered by the local Chess Association and the actual host of the tournament - the Southern Chess Club. It has attracted players from nearby countries and top local players since it is conducted according to the world body (FIDE) guidelines with the winner receiving a $3000 prize and his name engraved on the NWU Challenge trophy.

Comrade Sears is a practicing FIDE Candidate Master and, in 1972, was the Caribbean Chess Champion. He also represented Trinidad and Tobago at Chess Olympiads in the 1980s. He is cited as saying it was his announcement last year at a tournament named after him that he would strive to bring a major tournament to the southern city.

As the event draws near players from all over the country will be journeying to San Fernando over the next ten days, vying for prizes. Incredibly the tournament has attracted Primary school children and veterans in their seventh decade of life.

When asked why Chess and not a more popular sport, (like swimming, with which he had been involved for years), Comrade Sears said succinctly, “Chess does not make you smart it makes you smarter. Our society needs as many disciplined, focused, creative people as possible and the NWU is here to foster these attributes.”

Comrade Sears has organised numerous annual Chess tournaments held by the OWTU as part of their June 19th celebrations, so this latest manifestation is nothing new for the comrade