By Yaneth Estrada
After a life devoted to Salvadoran chess and with a characteristic humility, Coach Gustavo Zelaya received the title of FIDE Trainer from the Federation Internationale Des Échecs (International Chess Federation). Equally, Salvadorans Marlon Vásquez were accredited as FIDE Instructor, Miguel Zometa as National Instructor and Cristian Rodríguez as National Instructor.
"I searched for this title for three decades, but when i was in the right place, it was not the right time, in Cuba, I was twice, those courses were given, also in Colombia and Mexico, but on all occasions, I was with my group, always working on competitions, some coaches, they preferred to abandon the players in order to take their course, but others of us were clear, that it was not like that. Now in the middle of the pandemic, the opportunity was given online, let's say everything comes in time, and i took it, and so, even many international starters who were there, they recognized, the high marks achieved ", Zelaya detailed.
Likewise, commented that the course lasted about 72 hours, 50 effective, in charge of two Grand Masters (GM), maybe the main, Alonso Zapata from Colombia, and then an exam was done, and of the 52 participants, a 4 they gave us the title of FIDE Trainer, let's say, is the penultimate before the maximum that exists which is the Senior, but for that you have to be a coach of world champions and at that point, we have not had the opportunity, but that moment will come for El Salvador ".
After receiving this distinction, the Salvadoran strategist considered that “I think my experience as a coach here in El Salvador weighed heavily on me and that many of the players who have been with me have achieved the title of Master, or that they have already done it, Central American Championships, Central Americans and the Caribbean. Besides the fact that I was invited, at the time, to be the first Chess coach who left the country and was in Guatemala, in charge of the juniors and we did quite well and even, many of the players who are now competing were with me, there are several degrees and several International Teachers (WIM)”, He said.
further, very excited Zelaya explained that “this is something that fills me with great pride, It is not that I fully formed them all, but yes, I was as part of that, worth the roundness, formation and others we describe as the Mencos sisters in Guatemala. Now here in El Salvador there are also the Central American and Caribbean Sub Champion. 14, undefeated Dalila Barahona, the Sub Champion of Central America and the Caribbean sub 20, teacher Celina Palacios, I worked with her since I had 10 u 11 years, and for things of destiny when entering the College, University, we trained a little more and he achieved the championships and there are many like that, Master candidates who have passed. I remember now the International Master (WIM), Andrea Ortez, he was with his server and a month after he passed it to another group, She was already a FIDE Master and now a year later she is WIM and so many players who now continue to use the bases of the repertoire that they were given. I think that all this weighed when giving me this title, because although we did an exam and everything and it seems that I passed very well, of the 52, I was in fourth place, And many of these coaches already have other International Masters titles and it was a bit difficult in my case because I dedicated myself exclusively to being a coach., not very little competitor, although I have my international triumphs and a world gold medal in the Olympiad of 1992, things that no one here in the country is going to say so easily, at the Latin American level at that time we only won 2 people, El Salvador shone and I there”.
Notably, that the International Master degree is awarded by the Fédération Internationale Des Échecs or World Chess Federation (FIDE) chess players who reach a certain level of excellence.
With 40 years of experience in national chess, "The Prof" as his athletes affectionately call him, He recalled that he started in the sports field, when a well-known gas station had a promotion and gave a chessboard to its customers.
Upon receiving it, asked his uncle, a basic connoisseur of sport science, that will teach you some movements, it was like this being still very young, at school he met the Salvadoran Chess Federation (FSA), and without thinking, signed up for his first scoring tournament.
After several rounds, he won the competition and was handed a chess book that he read voraciously., and that filled him with illusions to continue competing, now against older. But nevertheless, these aspirations of triumph, they weren't always to the liking of their rivals, who were suspicious, of this enthusiastic "cipote" who was placed in the third category, then second and finished as a national team. Should be highlighted, what “The teacher” Zelaya has in his palm, a gold medal as the first board at the Manila Olympics, Philippines, 1992, as part of the famous "two team" that represented El Salvador in that event, “a story as interesting as it is unusual”, many journalists of the time titled the feat.
On how you value current processes, Zelaya was clear, the main difference is that now there are processes for children and young people (Sub 14, Sub 15, Sub 17) something that he did not have in his sports process, because they all trained in one adult group, children and youth. From the question what is chess for him, answered without a doubt: “a life”.