The Cayman Islands National Chess Team will represent the country at the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held in Chennai, India at the end of July, marking the first time the Cayman Islands has competed in person at the Chess Olympiad.

The team, announced in April, comprises five players: Clifford Shaw, Shaun Tracey, Christopher Young, Malcolm Powell and Laia Swaminathan (reserve player). The team has been training hard since the announcement, with the team coach, International Master Jomo Pitterson, who is also the national coach of Jamaica. The team will be led by the Head of Delegation Woman International Master Anzel Laubscher, who brings with her a wealth of experience and has been a coach in the Cayman Islands since 2017.

The Cayman Islands Chess Federation (CICF) has served as the anchor for the growing chess community on the island. Formed in 2012 by Shaun Tracey and Carlo Lee and later joined by Malcolm Powell, they have been striving to develop generations of chess players to represent the Cayman Islands in the international arena. This Olympiad is the culmination of 10 years of hard work.

The team:

As CICF President, Shaun Tracey has led the development of chess in the Cayman Islands, and represented Cayman at several international tournaments, while balancing his legal career at Campbells.

As a CICF Director, Carlo Lee is a brand developer, organiser and photographer and has spearheaded the Chess in Schools program in the islands. 

As CICF Secretary and Treasurer, Malcolm Powell has been instrumental in organising local tournaments and dealing with FIDE. As a player, he competed in tournaments in Jamaica and the US and as a coach, co-presented the Cayman Queen’s Gambit classes for female beginners in 2020. Cliff Shaw, who will play on board one, is a highly experienced player who once beat former World Champion Vasily Smyslov in an exhibition match.

Christopher Young is a long-standing member of the Cayman chess community and one of the winners of our local tournaments.

Laia Swaminathan is the only female and junior member of the team. She has been playing chess since the age of five and in 2020 became the coveted Interschool Champion of the Cayman Islands. Laia is excited to be back in her hometown of Chennai to participate in what is sure to be the biggest Olympiad event in history. 

About the Olympiad:

189 countries have registered to participate including Norway, whose team includes World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Games can go on for up to 6 hours at a time and will test the physical and mental endurance of the team. Each day will include research on the opponent and preparation for the game, while evenings include analysis of the prior game and further training.

If you would like to follow the team's journey at the 44th International Chess Olympiad, keep an eye on the CICF Facebook page and follow the team’s play from Thursday, July 28 – Wednesday, Aug 10.