In a day of chess, art, rewards and fun, Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) has called for friendly chess games and other entertaining activities to celebrate the 95th birthday of the Heroic Guerrilla, Ernesto Che Guevara.
All over Cuba, chess is a popular activity in public squares, clubs, schools and competitive tournaments. This is one of the many legacies we can attribute to revolutionary leader Che Guevara. From Che Guevara's youth as a competitive player in Argentina to his work to promote and establish chess throughout Cuba in the early years following the Cuban Revolution, chess was an activity that Che valued and enjoyed. In honor of Che's birthday, the Che Guevara Study Center in Cuba is organizing chess tournaments in Cuba, and calling on Cuba supporters and solidarity groups around the world to join in playing chess in commemoration of Che.
Today, Cuba faces more than six decades of a brutal trade and travel blockade from the U.S, and which has become even more challenging with U.S. President Biden's denial to remove Cuba from the U.S. Department of State's " List of State Sponsors of Terrorism." Historically, chess has also faced the malicious maneuvers of the U.S. blockade against Cuba. During the Cuban International Chess Tournament of 1965, the U.S. Department of State denied U.S. Chess Grandmaster Bobby Fischer the visa to travel to Cuba, but he still participated in the tournament by transmitting his chess moves by telex (electronic messages) from New York. In 1988, Cuban Chess Grandmaster Guillermo Garcia Gonzalez placed second in the New York Open Chess Tournament, but the U.S. Department of the Treasury used the "Trading with the Enemy Act" to confiscate his $10,000 prizemoney. The U.S. blockade affects essential trade, including food, medicine and fuel, and attempts to prevent U.S. citizens and institutions from developing friendly relations with Cuba. The U.S. government's 60-year immoral and criminal blockade is being confronted by Cuba's commitment to advance its revolution and to spread humanism through international solidarity.