Woman International Master Deborah Richards-Porter humbled to have WIM Lady's Tournament played in her honour in Kingston this weekend

By December 01, 2023
Ten-time national champion and Woman International Master Deborah Richards-Porter. Ten-time national champion and Woman International Master Deborah Richards-Porter. Contributed

In a celebration of female prowess on the chessboard, the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston is set to host the WIM Deborah Richards-Porter Lady's Chess Tournament on December 2 and 3, 2023. This all-woman chess event, now in its 10th year, pays tribute to the legendary Deborah Richards Porter, a 10-time national champion and trailblazer in the world of chess.

Richards-Porter said she is humbled that the event is being held in her honour.

“So coming from a time when I was playing and there were hardly any females playing, to having a situation now where there are a lot more girls, it's very heartwarming to see Jamaica get to this point whereby we have this many females playing,” she told Sportsmax.TV.

“And so to have worked tirelessly over the years to accomplish everything that's I’ve accomplished with the help of so many people to now have a tournament in my name it's a very humbling experience.”

She expressed the aspiration that the tournament will help bring even more female players to the game.

“I do hope that this sort of event will help empower females, not just those who are playing but also the parents, the moms, the dads, aunties of girls who want to go into sports or want to go into activities that are traditionally male oriented, to help to push and boost their daughters and to help to foster an idea or thinking their daughters, their nieces to know you are not limited because you're a female.

“You can also do it. Whatever you want to achieve, you can achieve it because you don't put any limits on yourself. And so that's what I want this tournament to symbolize more than anything else.”

Ian Wilkinson, Chairman of the Jamaica Chess Federation’s Women's Chess Committee, shed light on the significance of naming the tournament after Richards Porter. He emphasized the significance of honouring Richards Porters, stating, “She is a living legend, a real deal, who has achieved milestones that no other female player in the English-speaking Caribbean has accomplished. The tournament is a fitting tribute to recognize her outstanding contributions to the world of chess.”

Richards Porter left an indelible mark on the chess world. Her remarkable career includes winning 10 consecutive Jamaica Women's Championships, setting a record that remains unmatched. Debunking stereotypes and breaking barriers, she emerged as the first female in the English-speaking Caribbean to attain the Woman International Master (WIM) title in chess.

 

Wilkinson further delved into her achievements, stating, “In 2014, she won the woman sub-zonals event in Barbados. Her achievements include multiple Olympia representations and a Woman FIDE Master title. She has truly earned the status of a living legend, making her a real deal in the world of chess.”

With over 50 players already registered, the tournament anticipates additional registrations before the fierce competition commences.

Wilkinson expressed his enthusiasm for women's chess, stating, “I find the women's games more exciting than the men games. You've got 10 women's games; chances are you’re going to have the eight victories and two draws. The women's game is more exciting; there is this traditional bias against it. So, I took it upon myself to bring more attention to women's chess both locally and internationally.”

The WIM Deborah Richards-Porter Lady's Tournament Tournament showcases various categories catering to a diverse range of players, including open sections for adult females, amateur players in different age groups, primary school, and prep school sections. The tournament features a rapid event on Saturday and an international online blitz event on Sunday, drawing interest from chess enthusiasts worldwide.

Explaining the time controls for the rapid event, Wilkinson detailed, “Each player will have 15 minutes to finish the game and five increments of five seconds per move, making it hard to lose on time and contributing to better chess. The entry fee, inclusive of lunch, is 3500 Jamaican dollars, with the Federation subsidizing the cost.”

Highlighting the international dimension of the tournament, Wilkinson shared, “The blitz event on Sunday has garnered interest from nearly 20 different countries, including Barbados, Grenada, the Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, and even countries as far away as Africa and Europe.”

The blitz segment features games with a duration of five minutes and three-second increments per move.

 The sponsors for the event include lead sponsor General Accident Insurance Company, the Magnificent Chess Foundation, the Jamaica Olympic Association, the Sports Development Foundation, and support from the International Chess Federation (FIDE). The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is also backing the tournament, with hopes of having Minister Olivia Grange present at the opening ceremony.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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