Hard work has already begun offering rewards of distinction for 14-year-old Kael Samuel Bisnath, who recently won his first FIDE Master (FM) chess title at the XIV Central America and Caribbean Youth Chess Festival at Cascadia.
He was among the 230 players from 15 countries who participated.
Kael won gold in the U-14 division. In chess rankings, FM ranks below International Master, the highest rank, but ahead of Candidate Master.
His aim is to be the best at the game.
“My goal is to become a grandmaster,” Kael told Newsday Kids, “and to be number one in the world.”
Among his best tournament showings before the CAC event were gold wins in the Under-16 National Chess Olympiad invitational qualifier in May and the TT International Open 2020, winning first place in the Under-20 absolute division.
Kael said he felt “normal” on winning the title.
“I worked very hard and knew that one day this result would come. You could say that I was relieved.”
Kael has been playing chess since he was seven, and made his competitive debut in 2018 at the FCB Primary Schools Chess Tournament, winning four of seven matches. He has competed in well over a dozen tournaments since then, almost all with distinction.
Kael’s proud parents, Pooran Bisnath and Ursula Samuel, said his latest feat was the “results of hard work and preparation, (allowing him) to reap the rewards.”
Kael’s older sister Keira has also excelled in chess. Keira was crowned National Youth Under-16 Champion in 2020, and placed in the top five at the 2022 National Women’s Chess Championships.
Kael explained how he got into the game.
“My dad bought a chess set for us, but I really started playing when a chess club was opened at primary school. I was in standard one at Montrose Government Primary.”
He is now in third form at Presentation College (Chaguanas).
Chess, he said, was always more interesting and fun than other board games.
He credits it with helping to develop his ability to analyse everyday decisions and situations, much of which he extends to his schoolwork.
Kael said maths, physics, information technology (computer studies), technical drawing and music are his favourite subjects.
“I would like to become a software engineer and I would also like to become a chess coach,” he told Newsday Kids.
When he's not playing chess, Kael enjoys playing table tennis, video games like Clash Royale, Minecraft, and having fun with his dogs. And he plays the piano.