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Checkmate!

RIA GOODMAN, riagoodman@nationnews.com

Added 20 January 2019

martyn-and-julissa-012019

Martyn and Julissa are the first husband and wife combination to hold chess national titles. (Picture by Reco Moore.)

Who would have thought the game of chess could bring two hearts together?

And if you were to ask Martyn and Julissa, the first husband and wife combination to hold national titles, they’d simply use the chess term – checkmate.

It was indeed a win when the couple, now 29, crossed paths during a Chess Olympiad in Germany in 2008, having lived some distance apart from the time they began making moves along the 64-squared checkered game board as children. Julissa Figueroa is from Guatemala, which is 2062 miles away from the island he called home.

The six-time national chess champion Martyn Del Castilho was at the tournament representing Barbados when he noticed Julissa sitting alone following a defeat.

“She had looked disappointed because she had lost her game. I went to try to cheer her up. She was very shy at first and very nervous and speaking in English wasn’t any help. I can’t speak Spanish fluently but I know enough to get around,” he told EASY magazine.

Before returning to their respective countries, they exchanged emails and remained in contact over the years and even saw each other at other tournaments before they were engaged in Norway in 2014. (RG)

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