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Monday 22 July 2019
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Johnson remains chess chief

TT Chess Association president Sonja Johnson.
TT Chess Association president Sonja Johnson.

SONJA Johnson will lead the TT Chess Association (TTCA) for a third consecutive term, following her re-election as president with a victory over the only other nominee, former president Russell Smith, at the TTCA’s annual general meeting (AGM), at Couva East Secondary, last Sunday.

The president’s post was the only one contested.

Johnson, who is also secretary of the Planning and Development Commission of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs’ (FIDE) – the world governing body for chess – has been the TTCA’s president since 2016. She entered the association’s executive as public relations officer (PRO) in 2013 and served until 2015 when she was elected first vice-president. Johnson was made acting president in 2015 following the resignation of David Martin, shortly before the end of the term, and was officially voted in as president in 2016.

She was re-elected in 2017 when the terms were extended to two years. Johnson, speaking after the AGM, said she has unfinished business with the TTCA. “I can’t leave just yet,” she said. “I want to develop people, a team of younger people with passion to take chess to another level.”

Johnson won the election by 24 votes to Smith’s 11, while the president’s team followed her uncontested onto the executive.

The other executive members include: Frank Sears (first vice-president), Daryl Davis (second vice-president), Sadiqah Razark (third vice-president), Sandy Razark (secretary), David Martin (assistant secretary), Nalini Suratsingh (PRO) and Keelan Hunte (treasurer).

The other elected officers are, QuinCabralis and Keevin James (disciplinary committee); Andrew Bowles (trustee); Quintin Cabralis, Leonard Duncan, Kwesi Dyer, Patrick Ifill and Natasha Moham (tribunal).

At the AGM, Johnson presented a report on the TTCA’s activities and achievements for 2018-2019, which highlighted its receipt of the Jeffrey Stollmeyer award for the third time at the First Citizens Sport Foundation awards earlier this year. The Jeffrey Stollmeyer award is awarded to a national governing sporting body which “has outstandingly showcased initiatives, and made significant improvements in its administration and towards the development of its athletes.”

The TTCA president, however, presented a number of challenges facing the organisation, which includes a significant reduction of funding from the Ministry of Sport. Johnson, however, called for the membership to support the TTCA’s executive “in defining a new model on the way forward for the TTCA to ensure its sustainability.”

The new executive will embark on a number of initiatives during its two-year term, including an effort to increase the use of technology to boost engagement with the chess community and developmental programmes for chess players.

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