Searching for Donovan Fisher.
Ever since he left a vacuum at the very top of world chess, the ghost of what Bobby Fischer once represented, has haunted his fans worldwide.
A popular movie has even been made about this continual search, this longing, this need for a true champion to once again rise and free the chess world. This movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" followed the story of prodigy Joshua Waitzkin who seemed destined to follow in Fischer's footsteps. Joshua however decided that his personal path was that of Tai Chi Mastery, parallel learning and not World Chess domination.
Former training partner of Joshua Waitzkin, ( and also a martial artist, in the style of Aikido ), Maurice Ashley, continued the dream of being the next Bobby Fischer and he followed this dream to become the first black Grandmaster of Chess. Still to be the very best in the world is elusive for those who do not start very early and Ashley is looking to the next generation to carry the torch.
Born in Jamaica, a land rich with Olympic success, and birthplace to other great pioneers, such as Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Maurice Ashley may suspect, that the next Fischer lies in the Caribbean and not necessarily North America. Daaim Shabazz, Phd, is anticipating the rise of the Caribbean Region on the world stage of chess.
If the next champion is born in Jamaica he will seek to emulate Bob Marley as well as Bobby Fischer and certainly change the world with his artistry. He will possibly have a common Jamaican name like Donovan. Fischer's are rare in Jamaica, so his last name may be spelt Fisher instead.
Such a superstar will need to be identified early on and given top coaching. Jamaica's top chess coaches include John Tobisch and Ryan Palmer who now work with youngsters in Shropshire. Maybe a new local coaching sensation such as Markland Douglas will discover the unpolished gem. FM Warren Elliott, Russell Porter and other National Masters would be called on to help refine such a player. Porter's success in guiding Deborah Richards highlights another intriguing possibility. The next Fischer may be female.
Having looks like Sabrina Chevannes and the playing strength of a Spassky would certainly get the world to notice.
But before another "Cool Runnings" type Disney movie can be made with the happy ending we all love, we must develop a style, a culture, yes dare I say it ? A school of Chess that is undeniably Jamaican.
The Chinese and Indian wave of chess success in recent times is built on such a unified, long-term vision. GM Vishy Anand is a huge inspiration to his people. These Asian chess schools must be understood and emulated, in certain respects, but will have to be surpassed.
Fischer's sparkling success was augured by other Americans before him. Morphy, Pillsbury and Capablanca had all paved a path of revolutionary chess thinking that was creative and unstoppable yet birthed on this side of the globe. They all made the game look so easy and yet it was always so deep.
Capablanca, a son of the Caribbean, has clearly shown it is possible.
Grandmaster Maurice Ashley may one day become the father of the Jamaican Chess School even as Chigorin has set the foundation for Russia.
Rome was not built in a day and the changing of the guard will not happen overnight but let us now like Hannibal begin to think grand thoughts in the name of our forefathers. Let us dream big dreams, and yes, as sure as the sun that rises tomorrow, let us, even now, claim our rightful destiny.
by Mark J. B. Bowen.