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Barbados is among 163 countries set to compete at the inaugural FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.

The Barbados Chess Federation has named a 12-member team for the global event which will start on Saturday and run until August 30.

The event has been organised in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the world governing body for chess to postpone the over-the-board 44th Olympiad from August this year until the summer of 2021 in Moscow, Russia.

Played as a mixed event - each country will field three males and three females for each round – the Online Olympiad will be contested over the rapid format in which games usually last a maximum of half-hour. Each team is mandated to play an Under-20 male and Under-20 female in every round.

Reigning double crown champion International Master Orlando Husbands, six-time national champion FIDE Master Martyn Del Castilho, former national champion International Master Terry Farley and FIDE Master Justin Blackman, the island’s most successful player at the 2018 Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia will carry Barbados’ hopes on the male boards which also include Under-20s Nitin Mahtani and Aaron Haynes.

The youthful women’s unit is spearheaded by five-time national ladies champion Katrina Blackman and fellow Woman Candidate Master Julissa Figueroa. They are joined by four players under the age of 20 – Vanessa Greenidge, Gaybrianna Moore, Kiarra Eversley and Azaria Johnson.

Dirk Austin, who has the experience of coaching in Malaysia, is non-playing captain, while Belgian Grandmaster Mikhail Gurevich is coach for the male players and Spanish International Master Renier Castellanos is coach for the females.

The Online Olympiad is split into five divisions based on performances at the 2018 over-the-board Olympiad. Barbados, seeded at no. 102, will play in Division 3 from August 5 to 9. They are among 35 seeded teams in that division which will be completed by 15 qualifiers from Division 4 which will be played from July 29 to August 2.

Barbados is the only English-speaking Caribbean country in Division 3 – the others are in either Division 4 or the Base Division. (BCF)


Reigning double crown national champion Orlando Husbands is part of Barbados’ 12-member team for the Online Chess Olympiad. (BCF Pictures)

Five-time national women’s champion Katrina Blackman is one of six females in the Barbados team.

Note: FIDE, the world governing body for chess, is pronounced as Fee-day.

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