supports T&TCF regional event - Investing money like playing chess
CEO of CMMB
Investing money is somewhat like playing chess, says Ram Ramesh,
Managing Director and CEO of CMMB Limited. The mild-mannered executive
should know since he not only heads the largest brokerage house in the
Caribbean but also dabbled in the royal game during his school days in
company is focused on enhancing wealth for investors and individuals
through intelligent investing,” he notes. “It is somewhat like playing
chess which is a game of huge possibilities and numerous probabilities
all of which must be constantly evaluated in making moves that will
secure you the maximum advantage.”
So it is
no coincidence that CMMB has become involved in the development of chess
in our country. The company, in fact, is an enthusiastic sponsor of the
Caribbean Open Junior International Chess Championships which started
yesterday at Bishop Anstey High School in Port-of-Spain. The tournament,
a seven-round Swiss organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Chess
Foundation, has attracted players, 20 years and under, from various
countries of the region who are contesting in three age categories for
more than $10,000 in cash prizes.
prizes in each division are: Under 10 - $600, $450, $360, $300, $300;
Under 14 - $1,200, $900, $600, $300, $150; Under 20 - $1,800, $1,200,
$900, $600, $300.
According to the CMMB CEO, there are other reasons why his company is
supporting an expansion of the sport. “Although we are in the money
market business,” he notes, “we also have a social responsibility and
one of our positive concerns in this area is to help in dealing with the
problem of crime and violence. We are looking to see how we can make a
young persons, particularly those operating in gangs, are unable to deal
with conflicts in an informed and patient manner, Ramesh observes. As a
counter to this, chess teaches youngsters to carefully consider the
issue at hand, to examine all the different possibilities available to
them, before making a move. “By supporting chess we may be helping to
engender such considered behaviour in our youth,” he says.
CMMB has a Caribbean network, with companies in Barbados, St Lucia and
its parent organisation in Jamaica, Ramesh is hoping that the tournament
will become the premier chess event for juniors in the region. “We are
looking forward to the fullest possible participation,” he adds.
CMMB’s chess consciousness is derived not only from CEO Ramesh; it also
comes from Robert Mayers, Managing Director of CMMB Securities Limited,
who represented both St Mary’s College and UWI, Jamaica, in the sport
during the 50s and 60s.
wonder that Mayers is another positive advocate of the mental discipline
to be gained from playing chess. “Chess, you can say, prepares you for
life,” he observes. “It forces you to think ahead and to consider where
and how you can gain an advantage and, at the same time, preserve and
defend what you have.”
these reasons, Mayers heartily endorses CMMB’s sponsorship of the
Caribbean Open Junior tournament.
chess should gain the positive support of such a company must set an
excellent example for other companies to follow.
up Talmud for charms of chess
Rubinstein was born at Stawiski, a squalid ghetto in the Polish province
of Lomza in 1882, family tradition had already set out the course of his
life. For generations his ancestors had been rabbis and scholars of the
Hebrew classics, devoted to intensive cultivation of the mind inspite of
unrelenting povery and physical privation.
was no question that the boy, growing up in the house of his
grandparents, would become a Hebrew scholar and teacher of the Talmud,
even as his father who had died just before his birth and his
grandfather were before him.
however, young Rubinstein’s life took a sudden and, as it turned out,
tragic turn once he had tasted the artistic excitement of chess. He
first saw the game being played by two students of the “Yeshiva”, a
higher academy of religious instruction at Lomza. As destiny would have
it, he became instantly fascinated with the creative dynamics of chess
which, to the dismay and anguish of his family, became the ruling
passion of his life.
the Torah, love of the Talmud, faded into an evanescent dream as he now
spent most of his waking hours over a chessboard, exploring the
intricacies of this ancient sport. His grandparents noted and mourned.
They cursed the inexplicable alchemy in whose toils the boy had become
enmeshed. His mother prayed daily for the Lord to bring her erring son
back to the well trodden paths.
Rubinstein was lost to the family tradition; he had succumbed to the
charms of a mistress from whose embrace his life could never more be
petty glory of the Polish ghetto and a routine humdrum existence, he had
chosen a path which was to lead to world-wide renown and a soul-racking
ambition which, tragically, was never to be fulfilled.
uncertain start, the 19-year-old ex-student scored his first notable
victory against chess master Salwe living in the nearby town of Lodz. A
year later, he was sent to the Russian National Tourney at Kiev where he
won the fifth prize. In 1905, he entered the international arena and at
Barmen won his spurs in the German Chess Association, tying with Duras
for third prize in one of the major tournaments.
here Rubinstein proceeded to scale the pinnacle of chess in competition
among the great, leaving such giants as Bernstein, Teichmann, Marshall,
Janowski and the whole array of Russian talent trailing behind. At
Ostend he shared first prize with Bernstein and, with this victory, he
broke the supremacy of the so-called Lasker Pleiades, that is the
generation of grandmasters who were contemporaries of Lasker and who had
set the standard in world chess since 1890.
Petersberg in 1909 the Polish master demonstrated his full equality with
world champion Lasker whom he defeated in their individual encounter. In
fact, it was not until the last round that Lasker’s score matched his
own, so that both shared the first prize.
great year of triumph, however, came in 1912. In a period of 12 months
Rubinstein won no less than five consecutive first prizes in
international competition, at San Sebastian, Pistyan, Breslau, Warsaw
and Vilna, a record that was then unprecedented. It had now become clear
to the whole world that Rubinstein was to be the next champion. A match
for the title was scheduled to be held in the spring of 1914 between
Lasker and Rubinstein. The chess world waited expectantly.
great hope of the Polish grandmaster to wear the mantle of world
champion was shattered by the outbreak of war in Europe. Together with
millions, Rubinstein did not emerge from the Great War unscathed. When
the conflict was over, he was no longer the triumphant hero anxious to
contest for the world title. The soul of the sensitive chess master was
sorely tried by the ravages and hardships of the war years. Gone was the
confidence and inner harmony so essential for the supreme effort of a
modest and retiring, his shyness had become an obsession to the point of
a mental aberration. He suffered from an inferiority complex, deeming
himself superfluous, no longer a necessary adjunct to every great
Commenting on his decline, one contemporary writes: “Rubinstein’s
character is too noble for the rough and tumble of life. His colleagues
know best the splendour of his personality, his consideration for
others. So solicitous is he that his opponent is not disturbed in his
reflection, that as a matter of principle, he leaves the board after
each move, and only returns after his adversary has completed his play.
Naturally much time is lost thereby, and his own thinking suffers, and
many a surprising loss of Rubinstein can no doubt be attributed to this
Nevertheless, Rubinstein’s games throb with the zeal of the artist,
revealing the throes and pains of the creator, all of which are held in
check by a judicial appraisal, a calm logic. According to B.F.
Winkelman, writing an appraisal in 1941, only the games of Capablanca
reach a higher standard of perfection. “This is the great feature of his
play - its great strategic strength. He is never superficial, never
cheap or tawdry. He is never seeking merely to win, but always to create
“a work of art”. He never plays to the score or to the weakness of his
opponent, but ever to the board and to give us his best.”
can be little doubt, says Winkelman, that Rubinstein has added more to
the present status of chess theory and technique than any other master
since Steinitz. More innovations in the openings and more of the lines
that are today recognized as the ultimate in correctness and strength
can be traced to his genius and originality than can be ascribed to any
Winkelman, at the time of his writing, also rated Rubinstein as “the
greatest end-game player of all time, if not indeed, the most finished
master we have known.”
comment from Reuben Fine seems a fitting epitaph for the ill-starred
grandmaster: “We are filled with a sense of the tragic when we review
Rubinstein’s career. Here is a man who might have been champion but was
never given the chance. More important, in so many of his games we are
carried away by their classic perfection and feel impelled to say,
better chess cannot be played by mortal man.”
three of Rubinstein’s masterpieces:
Rubinstein. The Hague 1921. Sicilian Defence. 1. e4 c5; 2. Nf3 Nf6; 3.
e5 Nd5; 4. d4 cd; 5. Qd4 e6; 6. c4 Nc6; 7. Qd1 N(d5)e7; 8. Bd2 Ng6; 9.
Qe2 Qc7; 10. Bc3 b6; 11. h4 d6; 12. ed Bd6; 13. N(b)d2 (13. Bg7 Rg8; 14.
Bc3 Nf4 is no improvement) Nf4; 14. Qe3 Bc5; 15. Qe4 f5; 16. Qc2 Bc5;
17. g3 Ng6; 18. H5 Ne5; 19. Ne5 Ne5; 20. b4 (hoping for ...Be7 21. Bg2)
Bf2ch! 21. Kf2 Ng4ch; 22. Ke2 Qg3; 23. Bd4 Bb7; 24. Rh3 Qd6; 25. Qc3 e5;
26. Bg1 f4; 27. c5 Qh6; 28. Ke1 e4; 29. Rh4 Qg5; 30. Qh3 Nc3!; 31.Be3
f3; 32, Bc4ch Kh8; 33. Nf1 Qf3 White resigns.
v Rubinstein. Lodz 1907. Queen’s Gambit. 1. d4 d5; 2. Nf3 e6; 3. e3 c5;
4. c4 Nc6; 5. Nc3 Nf6; 6. dc? Bc5; 7. a3 a6; 8. b4 Bd6; 9. Bb2 00; 10.
Qd2? Qe7; 11. Bd3 dc; 12. Bc4 b5; 13. Bd3 Rd8; 14. Qe2 Bb7; 15. 00 Ne5;
16. Ne5 Be5; 17. f4 Bc7; 18. e4 R(a)c8; 19. e5 Bb6ch; 20. Kh1 Ng4! The
fun begins. 21. Be4 Qh4; 22. g3 Rc3! 23. gh Rd2!; 24. Qd2 Be4ch; 25. Qg2
Rubinstein v Teichmann. Match at Vienna 1908. 1. d4 d5; 2. c4 e6; 3. Nc3
Nf6; 4. Bg5 Nd7; 5. e3 Be7; 6. Nf3 00; 7. Qc2 b6; 8. cd ed; 9. Bd3 Bb7;
10. 000 c5; 11. h4 c4; 12. Bf5 Re8; 13. Bf6 Nf6; 14. g4 Bd6; 15. g5 Ne4;
16. h5 Qe7 (or ...Ng5; 17. Ng5 Qg5; 18. Bh7ch Kf8; 19. h6 gh; 20. R(d)g1
etc.); 17. R(d)g1 a6; 18. Bh7ch! Kh7; 19. g6ch Kg8; 20. Ne4 de; 21. h6
(the knight could not be captured) f6; 22. hg ef; 23. Rh8ch Kg7; 24. Rh7
Kg8; 25. Qf5 c3; 26. Re7 Black resigns.
Article by Carl Jacobs
©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited