Don’t let Orlando Husbands’ shy and quiet demeanour fool you.
While he may look like your average 18 year-old, once he gets behind a chessboard a transformation quickly occurs.
Therefore it didn’t come much as a surprise to most people when Husbands captured the Under-20 title at the recently concluded CARIFTA Chess Championships here in Barbados.
His most recent achievement has seen Husbands’ FIDE rating climb to 2200 – the highest it has ever been.
In an interview withBarbados TODAY,Husbands quickly admitted he had come a long way from his days at Milton Lynch Primary where he became involved in the game.
“I first learned how to move the chess pieces when I was at primary school, but it wasn’t really until I got to Lodge that I really started to play chess.
“I’ve always had an attraction to board games. I also play dominoes for my school and I also played draughts at some point in time,” the upper-six student at The Lodge School explained.
His love for chess has blossomed since then, and it has resulted in several chess titles for the resident of Scarborough, Christ Church.
Husbands has won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in three different divisions – Under 14, Under-16 and Under-18.
Additionally, he also captured the Under-14 title at the 2011 Chess Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, and has also represented his country at the most prestigious chess competition in the world, the Chess Olympiad.
However, he admitted that despite this success, the CARFITA Championships was an entirely different test.
“I knew I would have done well, but there was also the added pressure of performing well at home because everyone is watching and they expect you to win.
“I was pretty confident that I could win it although it was my first time competing in this division,” Husbands said.
With a broad smile strewn across his face, he admitted relief was his first reaction when he realized he was the winner.
“I was more relieved than anything because it was a gruelling three days…in fact it was a hard month altogether.
“Preparing for the tournament and playing the games were really stressful and took up a lot of my energy. In the end I was happy to win the Championships but I was also really relieved to get it over with,” he noted.
Despite his notable achievements so far, Husbands has his eyes set on a target which has eluded chess players in the English speaking Caribbean – becoming a Grandmaster.
“I want to go as far as I possibly can to be honest,” he pointed out.
“I want to be a Grandmaster because it would be a first for anyone in the English-speaking Caribbean…that is my ultimate goal.”
Husbands said he would now be turning his focus to the Heroes Day competition and the Pan American Games in Columbia, which will be held in June.