The Ghana Chess Association (GCA) has moved to keep players active with the introduction of online games due to COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the President of the GCA, Philip Ameku, the national chess team will participate in the first ever Online Chess Olympiad being organised by International Chess Federation (FIDE) from July 29 to August 3.
Mr Ameku noted that Ghana was seeded in division four alongside nine other countries including African giants Angola, Liberia, Senegal, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Suriname, The Netherlands, Antilles and Togo. He explained that the top three best performing countries will advance to the next stage of the competition.
Ghana is expected to line up the likes of skipper Philip Ameku, John Kojo Hasford, Lionel Adu-Jnr, Felix Tobi, Christiana Ashley, Bernard Anhwere, Francis Anquandah,
Angela Naa Amerley Ayiku, Angel-Jordan Quansah, Selikem Amoako Rohan Karamchandani, Devina Gokaldas at the Accra Sports Stadium to engage their opponents online.
“It is going to be the first of its kind that a competitive competition is being played online,” Ameku told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
“We have faith in making a significant impact at the tournament when it begins. That is the only motivation for our participation and we are focused on achieving just that.”
Over the years, chess, regarded as a lesser-known sport in Ghana continues to grow among schools and colleges. The GCA believes it remains the developmental idea of the association for the future.
Having started as Accra Chess Club in the 1970’s at Jamestown, the GCA currently have several players partaking in the sport.
On July 20, the GCA honoured the World Chess Day with an online tournament after failing to mark the day due to the COVID-19 restrictions. A pharmaceutical firm, Reiss&Co sponsored the competition to mark the day.
Reiss&Co together with the GCA have chalked several feats at international competitions. The company will sponsor players with data for the Online Chess Olympiad.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Peter van der Wurff, Managing Director of Reiss&Co, endorsed playing the sport online especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that his outfit decided to continue investing in chess due to its ability to improve the minds of players.
“It helps the mind a lot due to the thinking capacity one needs to play. This is what continues to drive us as a company to support players to compete frequently,” he said.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe playing the game online is the best way to go and we decided to take care of the data needed for the tournament.”