Bulgarian chess master instructs prisoners in Trinidad & Tobago

Bulgarian chess grandmaster Marian Petrov.

BULGARIAN FIDE grandmaster (GM) GM Marian Petrov led a chess training workshop for some ten inmates at the Maximum Security Prison, Arouca, as part of a nine-day trip, in which he gave a number of workshops at varying levels for the chess-playing community.

Petrov later remarked on the level of play by several of the prisoners, with one in particular earning special mention for his obvious ability, which Petrov described as that of a standard tournament player.

The Bulgarian asked where he learnt the game, to which the inmate replied: “In prison.”

The ten players, who were supported by about 20 of their peers, were given tips to further improve their game. They engaged Petrov with questions about the game and asked him to return for another interactive workshop.

The event was part of a collaborative effort between the TT Chess Association, the TT Olympic Committee and the TT Prisons Service administration, designed to introduced a structured chess programme within the prison system. In 2017 around 80 inmates competed in two tournaments hosted by the TTCA at the Maximum Security Prison and the Carrera Convict Prison.

Petrov, who left TT yesterday, completed his itinerary at C3 Centre, San Fernando, where he challenged more than 20 players simultaneously. At the end, he was held to two draws, one by Marcus Cobham and the other by Khafra Enen-Sa-Te Faab.

The training was made possible through support from the World Chess Federation (FIDE), through its development fund.

TTCA president Sonja Johnson said she was delighted by the series of activities involving Petrov.

“The feedback received by all participants of the various events was very positive,” she said. “And the TTCA was very happy to have engaged the community in a meaningful way.”

She said the association will continue to execute its development plans “to broaden the base of chess players while also seeking to further develop the citizens of TT.”