1st Srefidensi Chess Celebration - Suriname (1/2)

11/30/2013 – On the Atlantic coast of South America lies a little nation where everyone speaks... Dutch. The lovely micro-nation of Suriname hosted a chess celebration in its capital Paramaribo, inviting international players to give chess a shot in the arm. The event was a big success and drew many children with the many prizes and conditions. Alina l'Ami brings a beautiful illustrated report.

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1st Srefidensi Chess Celebration - Suriname (1/2)

By Alina L'Ami


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Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname, is the smallest independent country in South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south. Suriname has a very hot tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. Average relative humidity is between 80% and 90%. Its average temperature ranges from 29 to 34 degrees Celsius. It was colonized by the English and the Dutch in the 17th century.

In 1667 it was captured by the Dutch, who governed Suriname as Dutch Guiana until 1954. At that time it was designated as one of the constituent countries (Dutch: landen) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, next to the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010). On 25 November 1975, the country of Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become independent. A member of CARICOM, it is frequently considered a Caribbean country and has had frequent trade and cultural exchange with the Caribbean nations.

Dutch is the sole official language, and is the language of education, government, business, and the media. Over 60% of the population speak Dutch as a mother tongue, and most of the rest speak it as a second language. In 2004 Suriname became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union. It is the only Dutch-speaking country in South America as well as the only independent nation in the Americas where Dutch is spoken, and one of the two non-Romance-speaking countries on the continent, the other being English-speaking Guyana. (source: wikipedia)

The motto of the event: "Door Schaken je budget bewaken", which could be
read on many t-shirts of the players as well, provided by the organizers in the
colours of the Surinamese flag: red, yellow and green

There are chess games in which one has to walk on a very narrow edge; only a long series of “best moves” would lead to a win. No matter how tiresome such games are, the winner almost always stands up from the chess board with a broad grin.

Who said that chess is an indoor sport?!

Opening ceremony and the speech of the President of the Surinamese Chess
Federation - Frank Lo Kim Lin

Chess life can sometimes take a similar course. From the moment I got an invitation to play in Suriname, I knew I would have to become an acrobat, balancing on a thin strip to make it happen.

The Dutch trio - Merijn van Delft, Amy van Zutphen and Thomas Willemze

Hey! I recognize that! I was impressed that the organizing
committee managed to find my Romanian flag, especially
since I knew how difficult that was

First move is being played on the board of the national champion of Suriname:
Casanova Sanches, who had the black pieces against the Cuban IM Gerardo
Lebredo Zaragoitia. The Cuban player had so much respect for the officials that
he stood up to avoid disturbing the photographers or the officials!

Fate took care of some of the happy concordances, rewarding me with a full point for my attempts – my dream was about to come true! The tournament took place within the only available gap from my over-crowded schedule (ECC, ETCC, Bundesliga, Kurdistan etc.) and there were flights available precisely on the days I needed them! Moreover, the VISA for Suriname arrived the night before departure, which wouldn’t have happened without the organizers’ big time help…

Tournament organizer and the secretary of the Chess Federation of Suriname:
Ricardo dos Ramos, closely watching the ongoing games. My biggest thanks to
him and to the entire team behind this wonderful event - well done!

Surinamese players - unity in diversity

Sriram Jha reading the New York Times on his way to India...and whom do we
see?! - a very fashionable World Champion!

Tournament hall with the live games transmission

I wonder if Ryan Harper could actually see something, being so close to the
projected boards

But when the tournament started, I had to take charge myself of the “slalom” through the double rounds and jet-lag effects (no matter how tired I went to sleep, I would invariably wake up at 6:30 a.m.!), or the clearly under-rated young promises from Suriname and experienced veterans from Cuba, still full of ambition. Quite probably, I would have collapsed under tiredness and pressure, had it not been for the organizers’ (and local people’s in general) kindness and support, as well as for the excellent playing conditions.

Trinidad and Tobago's strongest player: Ryan Harper; also a successful full time coach

Great live commentary and round reports provided by the
Dutch IM: Merijn van Delft, who also won the blitz tournament

The tournament hall

Thomas supporting his girlfriend, Amy van Zutphen, who
had a fantastic tournament!

She was the best woman in the Open section, plus 52 rating points, fifth place
in the final standings and some other prizes in different rating groups!

And now that this new page of my life has been written, I look back smiling with pleasure and joy, the same as after an exhausting game ended in a win…

Dewperkash Gajadin (above) from Suriname didn't have a dream tournament this time, which sometimes happens in closed events. These predators, called chess players, feel when someone is not in good shape, so they will do whatever it takes to grab a full point. But the Surinamese player, a successful doctor in daily life, is the proud owner of a bronze medal on his reserve board, during the 1984 Olympiad!

Roger Matoewi from Suriname is the only player who managed to get winning
positions against the top three in the final standings: Willemze, Sriram Jha and myself

"Are you really going to play that?!" IM from Cuba: Aguero Jimenez Luis Lazaro,
second seed on the starting list, finished on the fourth place in the final standings.

According to the tournament director, some people would ask: “Where on Earth is THAT?” when hearing of Suriname. Even if you have a map, you may have problems giving a correct answer. Although placed on the continental part, Suriname belongs to the Caribbean, rather than South America.

Another view of the playing hall

Casanova Sanches, the national champion of Suriname

Setting foot on Suriname soil doesn’t bring in too much light into this issue either. During the landing, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by the jungle and cannot see anything but trees. (Later I found out that Suriname is considered one of the Planet’s lungs and an ecologic Paradise. Its territory is five times bigger than Holland’s, but it has just half a million of inhabitants, the same as my native city Iași!)

The experienced Cuban IM Lebredo Zaragoitia Gerardo

Tension in the blitz event, which was won convincingly by Merijn van Delft with 8.0/9

Trophies from the blitz

Technology would not necessarily help you understanding where you are. Right after landing, I got such weird messages on my telephone: “Welcome to… Jamaica”! Or: “Romanian Embassy in Venezuela, address and phone number” etc. My poor Orange mobile phone company seemed so helplessly confused…

The Novices Class event, played in the last day, in which many children participated

 I always admire their complicated hair styles

A lot of media attention

As if all these were not enough, the next morning’s walk on the streets of Paramaribo or the direct visual contact with the chess players was not too revealing either. The population is a fantastic mixture of countries, cultures, civilizations, histories… you can find here Amerindians, Chinese, Javanese (Indonesians from Java), descendants of escaped African slaves, Dutch and English colonialists… So, when you look around, you cannot help asking yourself: Where am I? And where are all these people coming from?

The winner of the Master Class: Thomas Willemze, and his final speech

The magnificent live performances of the Surinamese group: Alla Kondre Drun

The remarkable thing is that despite such differences of culture, tradition and religion, people live very peacefully together, in a perfect communion and respect for each other and for the generous surrounding Mother Nature.

African beats - I think it would take me years of practice to be able to dance
like that. And most probably my level would be far from their skills

Javanese dance...

...and Indian - you can see the boy's face, we all enjoyed it!

Suriname is one of the few places on Earth where a Synagogue and a Mosque coexist next to each other. The believers of the two different cults don’t fight after the prayers; they rather visit each other and have lunch together!

The way they dance is absolutely incredible

I was open-mouthed

There are several reasons why I can say that Suriname welcomed me very warmly. It was more than… the warm weather (30 degrees; what a joy when coming right from the European winter!) and the protocol assistance I received at the airport. It actually started somewhere over the Atlantic!

She is the guilty one! I almost cried when I heard her voice...beautiful.

A lot of prizes for the youth - good motivation for the future

Due to a confusion of the check-in KLM officer, I got a middle seat. I always take an aisle sit and felt quite unhappy for having to spend so many hours in what I found an uncomfortable position. My neighbour must have deciphered the meaning of my long face and kindly offered to change seats with me. Since he was from Suriname, I took his gesture as a guarantee that I would love the country…

The only picture I have with myself... This one was collected from Facebook,
but I don't need photos, I have my memories

Final standings of Masters

Final standings of Open

Rk
SNo
 
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
 TB 
1
1
 
Joseph Marcus
TTO
2157
6.5
25.5
2
7
 
Ooft Gavin
SUR
1944
6.5
18.5
3
8
 
Sears Frank
TTO
1923
6.0
21.5
4
2
 
Wiltshire Esan
TTO
2041
5.0
22.5
5
18
WCM
Van Zutphen Amy
AHO
1699
5.0
22.0
6
11
 
Immanuel Kromosoeto
SUR
1809
5.0
19.5
7
12
 
Drayton Anthony
GUY
1801
5.0
18.5
8
21
 
Chou Elysia
SUR
1653
5.0
17.5
9
10
 
Chang Pierre
SUR
1863
5.0
17.5
10
4
 
Giasi Viresh
SUR
1984
4.5
24.0
11
5
 
Tjong Tjin Joe Calvin
SUR
1980
4.5
24.0
12
60
 
Amatdarso Gerrit
SUR
0
4.5
21.0
13
36
 
Valdivia Valdivia Jose Rafael
SUR
0
4.5
21.0
14
58
 
van de Lisle Martin
SUR
0
4.5
19.0
15
16
WCM
Ooft Tesora
SUR
1751
4.5
18.5

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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