Gabriella JOHNSON - The youngest at this tournament. She is only 9 years old
She is only 9 years old and she will celebrate her 10th birthday in December. In fact the women's national team of Trinidad and Tobago is one of the youngest at this tournament. Women's chess in this country was developed not so long ago and now the players are working for the future perspective - each game is analyzed and is a source of valuable experience for future victories.
This Sunday, on their rest day, men's and women's national teams of Trinidad and Tobago went skating. Many of them stepped on the ice surface as well as saw it for the first time, because they do not have skating rinks in their country at all. This skating experience was not new for Gabriella because she participated in the Chess Championship of Central and South America in Argentina last year where she did skating for the first time. In addition to slippery surface, chess players had difficulty to understand American sizes in Europe, but with the help of their caring accompanying person Ksenia, all of them managed to pick the right pair of skates. On the skating rink Ksenia showed them how to skate, and soon many of them moved on their own and some of them were taught skating by the delighted Khanty-Mansiysk citizens.
In mastering skating skills the National team of Trinidad and Tobago was faithful to their motto as on the board: the most important thing is to believe in you and love chess and everything will turn out well. After skating, tired, but delighted, Gabriella answered a few questions:
You are the youngest participant of the Olympiad, and chess is one of the most ancient games. How do you feel about playing with older players?
First of all, I am proud to represent my country here. The only thing I feel my age is that the majority of participants are older than me so I have not found a lot of friendsofrom other countries.
What are your impressions of the Olympiad capital? What do you remember most of all?
I like the fact that the city is not very big, but there are many parks and trees, which are especially beautiful now, in autumn. That's great. Most of all I liked mammoths from the Archeological Park, the Central Square with its boulevard, and of course, today's ice-skating experience. The citizens are very attentive and friendly here - they often help us.
How did you come to the chess world?
My older brother supported me, he is 11 years old and he is fond of chess too. He is a junior champion. We had a chess club in our school and he invited me there when I was 7 years old.
At this moment Gabriella’s mother Sophie joined the conversation. Who is an employee in the bank and she is accompanying her daughter at the Olympiad and generally takes care of the team. She said: "Gabriella’s brother was the first who joined the chess club. He succeeded. It was a surprise, because chess was only a hobby in our family and nobody played it professionally. Gabriella started playing chess after her brother’s achievements. My husband and I paid attention to it and began to spend time at the competitions with our children, encouraging their passion for chess and learning to play ourselves, as we were just the beginners."
After the interview, the team was planning to play bowling. As far as they know, there is no bowling center on their islands, but they like this game very much. Therefore, when they go abroad, bowling clubs are registered on their list of interests on the second place - right after the chess.