2015 seems to be remarkable year for India. The 200th Birth Anniversary of Don Bosco, the visit of Barack Obama and the phenomenal feat of Woman Grand Master Mary Ann Gomes. Indeed it is providential and at the same time, a matter of pride for Catholics of Kolkata, that one of their daughters Mary has been selected to represent India in the FIDE Women's World Chess Championship 2015, to be held from March 16th to April 7th 2015 in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia.
A total of 64 players who qualified from the Women’s World Championships 2012-2013, FIDE rating lists, World Junior Championships, Continental Zones and FIDE President’s nominees will compete in the knockout tournament with six rounds.
The first five rounds of matches will consist of two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th and final round will be played over four games and the winner will be declared Women’s World Champion. Grand-Hotel-Polyana (In the picture)
According to Mary’s father Charles, the minimum estimated cost is three to four lakh in Indian rupees for airfare from India and back, hotel expenses and training under experienced coaches. Mary has to bear all the costs without any support from the Indian government.
Mary is a rare talent (her current Elo Rating 2355) and a Burning Bush for Catholics all over India. The numerous prizes she has won in tournaments in various parts of the world prove this point:
- BEST WOMAN PLAYER at the Chennai Open 2011 International Grandmaster Chess Tournament, 17th to 26th January, 2011.
- Bronze – World Team Chess Championship 2013, Astana Kazakhstan.
- Bronze – World Youth Chess Championship under 18 Girls, Georgia October 2006.
- Silver – 38th Chess Olympiad (Women), Dresden, Germany, November, 2008.
- Bronze in Commonwealth and SA Open Chess Championship (Women), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, July, 2013 and in Commonwealth Chess Championship (Women), Chennai November 2012.
- Gold – Asian Junior Chess Championship under 20 Girls, Chennai India December 2008
- Gold – Asian Junior Chess Championship under 20 Girls, Mumbai India December 2007
- Champion (Hat trick) at 38th, 39th and 40th National Premier Women’s Chess Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013 held at Chennai, Jalgaon and Kolkata respectively.
As per Mary’s father, for 19 years, through sheer determination and consistent hard work, Mary has earned her chance at the world title. Being a staunch Catholic, he has a firm faith that if Mary (E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org) is supported with finance and prayers by our Christian community, she will achieve her goal and make our country and the Christian Community proud.
Considering the prestige associated with the World Championship and the high likelihood of Mary being recommended for Arjuna Award 2015, it is high time our Christian Community, the various Lay Associations and especially our MPs and MLAs rose to the occasion to hail this rare talent, our National Asset.
ISAAC HAROLD GOMES, KOLKATA
MEMBER – INDIAN CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION