St. Jago Tops High School Chess

Monday, May 26, 2014

St Jago High on the weekend walked away with their fifth title as chess champions after an impressive performance in the 2014 staging of the National High School Chess Championships.

The All Island Finals saw a keenly contested match with Calabar High School but the St Catherine team continued their dominance of high school chess with a 3.5 – 0.5 margin victory.

Winning for St Jago were Boards 1-3: Alistair Walker, captain Roderick Clifford and Michael Christie against Shreyas Smith, Ajani Domville and Oshane Francis. On board 4 Akeem Brown of St Jago and Malik Curriah of Calabar High played to a draw.

St Jago previously won the competition in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 2012.

“The team stuck to the plan and was relentless in their pursuit for victory,” said St Jago coach Mikhail Solomon, who won best coach award in the competition.

Solomom believes the win is just the beginning of a dynasty he hopes to develop at St Jago.

“This victory is a gift to St Jago on their 270th anniversary,” he said.

The third place playoff between dethroned champions Glenmuir High and Corporate Area finalist Ardenne High, after four hours of battle, ended in a 2-2 draw.

Registering victory for Ardenne High was Alejandro Burke, while Glenmuir’s Samuel Haywood also won his match.

All other games were drawn requiring a play off to decide the third place team.

Horace Sinclair of Ardenne was up against Tahj Davis of Glenmuir. The heated four-game playoff also ended 2-2. The tension continued as two more matches were added. Davis managed to win the final two blitz games, resulting in Glenmuir High claiming the third spot.

Fredrick Cameron Open 2013

Mellace Tops Frederick Cameron Open

Published: Monday | January 6, 2014

In a competitive field, former national champion, Andrew Mellace, pulled out all the stops to win the final chess tournament on the local calendar – the Frederick Cameron Chess Open – at St. George’s College.

Mellace finished undefeated, with only two draws, tying with national champion, Damion Davy, on 5.6 points, but had the better tiebreak.

The victory also qualified Mellace for the 2014 National Chess Championships.

There was a four-way tie for third between Paul Brooks, Deborah Richards, Shreyas Smith and Adrian Palmer, who all tallied 4.5 points. This necessitated a four-way play-off, from which Smith and Palmer emerged front-runners to join Mellace as qualifiers for the 2014 Nationals.


In the intermediate section, Roger Williams took first place, scoring 5.5/6 points. Jonathan Pitterson finished second on 4.5 points and Brian Brooks was third with the same score.

Brik Hamilton won the amateur section with 5.5/6 points, while Joshua Guinness Brown and Nikita Gupta, who each scored five points, were second and third, respectively.

Nathan Walsh won the Under-8 category and the Under-10 winner was Lontae Walker. Ashley-Renee Gregory topped the Under-12s, while Brian Brooks took the Under-14 section.

In the new section, for beginners, Justin Watts emerged the winner with a perfect six points.

Competitors will get another chance to qualify for the 2014 National Chess Championships at the John Powell Open, which is scheduled for February 8-9 in Mandeville.

Youth Link Feature on Rachel Miller

Rachel has all the right moves

Fourteen-year-old Rachel Miller, a student of Campion College, is a chess player extraordinaire who applies lessons and strategies from the game to her life and schoolwork; chess helps to keep her focused, she said.

Miller explained that her introduction to the sport began at age nine, two years before she was to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
“At the time, a new chess club was introduced to my school and my parents pushed me to join because I was going to take GSAT. They believed that the game would help me perform better in the exam and I am glad to say that it contributed to my overall score,” Miller pointed out.

Chess imbues an individual with the ability to think critically before making accurate and precise decisions, as well as gives the confidence to take certain risks.

“Chess has exposed me to different ways of thought and has taught me to never underestimate anyone,” said Miller, who is involved in a number of clubs including the Chess, Key and Christian Living clubs.

Active mind

Though chess has no physical regimen, as one would expect of other sporting activities, Miller pointed out that she keeps her mind active. She also mentioned that she eats lightly so that she may be able to focus.

“I usually eat something light so I won’t get hungry while concentrating. Afterwards, I solve chess problems to get rid of the cobwebs in my head and then I play some chess games online,” she reported.

Miller stated that her favourite piece on the chess board is the knight, because of its power, even though it does not cover enough ground on the board. The knight moves in the shape of the letter ‘L’.

Since Miller has been engaged in the sport, she has had numerous opportunities to travel abroad to represent Jamaica. Playing in other countries, she declared, has opened her eyes to the various playing styles of her opponents and to other cultures.
She acknowledged that the challenge she faces from her opponents allows her to become better.

“Playing other talented juniors of my own age lets me challenge my skills against equal or better opponents and lets me improve in the process. For instance, I remember coming from a tournament in Brazil and, two months later, I came third in the Harold Chang Open Tournament in Jamaica.”


  • Harold Chang Open – 3rd overall, Best Junior, Best Female.
  • PanAmerican Youth Festival, Pocas de Caldas, Brazil, 2013 – Under-14 Female. Tied for 7th and best-placed English-speaking Caribbean person for that category, ever.
  • Carifta Junior Chess Under-16 Female Champion 2013.
  • Carifta Junior Chess Under-14 Female Champion 2013.
  • Current top-ranked FIDE Under-14 player for Jamaica (Woman Candidate Master).

Calabar, St. Jago to Contest All-Island Chess Final

Thursday, May 08, 2014 

LISA Hanna, Minister of youth and culture, calmly made the symbolic first move in the Magnificent High School Chess Championships in what turned out to be a thrilling affair.

St Jago High topped defending champions Glenmuir High to win the rural section, and Calabar High got their first hold of the corporate title with victory over Ardenne High at the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s building.

The corporate area final was tied 2-2 after victories from Shreyas Smith and Oshane Francis for Calabar, and victories from Horace Sinclair and Damani Reid for Ardenne.

This forced a speed chess play-off between the top players of each school to decide the tiebreak. In the best-of-four blitz chess, Shreyas Smith won 3-0 against Horace Sinclair.

The rural finals saw St Jago High scoring a surprise 4-0 victory over Glenmuir High. The match was closely contested but St Jago outlasted their counterparts as the games went down to the wire. Winning for St Jago were Alistair Walker, Roderick Clifford, Michael Christie and Akeem Brown.

The all-island final is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, where rural champions St Jago High will battle corporate champions Calabar High for high school supremacy.

Calabar’s coach Russel Porter explained that he started with the team late at the quarter-final stage when they upset Campion College.

According to him, they have surpassed their expectations given their inexperience and see no reason, having reached this far, that they cannot win the final. He entrusts the Calabar fighting spirit and predicts a close match with either a 2-2 scoreline and a play-off win for Calabar, or a 2.5-1.5 scoreline.

On the other hand, St Jago’s coach Mikhail Solomon said: “With strong and accurate preparation, the match will be very interesting. We plan to bring an effective challenge to the corporate champions.”

He declined to give any match predictions but argued that he is not underestimating his opponents.

Sponsors of the National High School Chess Championships include Magnificent Chess Foundation, Burger King and the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Calabar Oust Champs Campion In Stirring Quarter-Final Duel

Published:Thursday | February 13, 2014

The quarter-finals of the Magni-ficent Chess Foundation-sponsored National High Schools Chess Championships was nothing short of exciting. Two play-offs were forced after long struggles and the reigning champions, Campion College ‘A’, were eliminated during the competition at Kingston College on Saturday.

Campion College ‘B’ emphatically disposed of Kingston College ‘A’, winning

4-0, while Ardenne ‘A’ registered almost a similar win over Jamaica College ‘A’, dropping only half-point in their 3.5-0.5 victory.

Defending Corporate Area champions Campion College ‘A’ had a much tougher match against Calabar High ‘A’. After four hours, the match was tied 2-2, with Calabar winning on boards one and four and Campion College ‘A’ winning on boards two and four.

Speed Chess Play-Off

This meant a speed chess play-off had to take place. Shreyas Smith won the match for Calabar ‘A’ after a sterling performance against Jayson Lawson, winning the best-of-four 2.5-0.5.

Wolmer’s Boys’ ‘A’ and Ardenne ‘B’ also tied 2-2 and had to go to a play-off. Nathan Belinfante won the play-off for Wolmer’s Boys’ with a 3-0 sweep over Ardenne High’s Brian Brooks to set up the semi-final pairings.

Wolmer’s Boys’ will match wits against Calabar ‘A’ and Campion College ‘B’ will brainstorm against Ardenne ‘A’.

Meanwhile, the rural area section has reached the knockout phase.

The matches are: Old Harbour ‘B’ vs St Jago ‘A’, Iona High vs Glenmuir ‘A’, Manning’s ‘A’ vs Vere Technical, Old Harbour ‘A’ vs St Catherine ‘A’, Titchfield vs Denbigh High, Manning’s ‘B’ vs Glenmuir ‘B’, Clarendon College vs St Jago ‘B’, St Catherine ‘B’ vs Charlemont High.

The remaining matches are expected to be highly competitive, as many teams have very strong national players. There are newly minted St Jago ‘A’ National Master Alistair Walker, Calabar ‘A’ Under-18 champion Shreyas Smith, senior National Championships qualifier Horace Sinclair, who represents Ardenne ‘A’, while defending champions Glenmuir ‘A’ still have board two medallist Tahj Davis.

The championship continues today at Dinthill High and Saturday at Kingston College.

National High School Championship

Immaculate Stun Calabar In Opener

Published: Thursday | November 21, 2013

The first pawn was pushed in the 2013 National High School Chess Championships on Monday, and after only one round, a few upsets were registered in the Corporate Area division.

In the Kingston Zone, six-time champions Camperdown High ‘A’ could only manage a 2-2 draw against Kingston College (KC) ‘B’ team. Other results saw the favourites winning convincingly; Wolmer’s Boys 4-0 over Excelsior ‘B’, St George’s College surged past Camperdown ‘B’ 4-0, KC ‘A’ also won 4-0, against Wolmer’s Girls, while Excelsior High put away St George’s ‘B’ 3-1.

The St Andrew Zone had some exciting games as well. Jamaica College (JC) A drew with Calabar ‘C’ 2-2, and one of the favourites, Ardenne High ‘A’, slipped past Campion College ‘C’ 2 1/2-1/2, after both teams showed up without one player.

Other Games

In other games, reigning Cor-porate Area champions Campion ‘A’ dispatched JC’s C-team 4-0, Campion ‘B’, defeated Meadow-brook High 3-1 and Ardenne ‘B’ defeated Campion ‘D’ 3-0.

Immaculate High provided a startling result, by defeating Calabar ‘A’ 3-1. However, Calabar ‘B’ took down Immaculate’s ‘B’ team 4-0. The final game of the day saw JC ‘B’ defeating Calabar ‘D’ 4-0.

National Master Ryan Black-wood, coach of a few Corporate Area teams, is happy with the results and quotes the Immaculate victory as an unplanned upset vs Calabar. Additionally, he rates his team, Campion, as favourites to retain their title.

Play in the rural championship is scheduled to start next Tuesday, November 26. The defending champions are Glenmuir High, but tough challenges are expected from St Jago High, St Catherine High and The Manning’s School, among others.

St Jago’s coach, Mikhail Solomon, thinks they have a very good chance of wresting the rural title from Glenmuir.

“With constant preparation I believe we have a very good chance of winning,” he said.

Warren Elliott, coach of Glenmuir, is also optimistic about their chances and envisions a dream final with his Corporate Area team, Wolmer’s Boys.

“There are a lot of tough teams, but we have been training and will always put out our best,” he said.

The championships is sponsored by Magnificent Chess Foundation and the Jamaica Chess Federation.

Wheeler Open 2014

Damion Davy wins 2014 Robert Wheeler Chess Open

Former National champion and Candidate Master (CM) Damion Davy walked away with a near perfect victory in the 2014 Robert Wheeler Chess Open over the weekend.

He finished with 5.5 points from six games, only conceding a draw to former junior champion Miguel Asher.

Finishing second to third were National Master (NM) Russel Porter and Miguel Asher, both on 4.5 points, with Porter getting the nod on tiebreaks.

This was the first Open tournament after the Nationals where Davy finished second. “Having finished second in Nationals, winning the Robert Wheeler Chess Open was comforting and very good practice for the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Norway,” he said.

Damion will be a part of the chess team representing Jamaica at the Chess Olympiad.

The tournament had over 100 participants and had three major sections. The Open section best junior was Nathan Hinds, finishing on 4 points, while best female went to Melisha Smith.

The Intermediate section was won by Aulanni Kidd on tiebreaks after a massive tie on 5 points with three other competitors. Finishing from second through to fourth were Ashley Renee-Gregory, Lontae Walker and Chimoabii Iheonunekwu. Aulanni also won best Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12. Best Under-10 was Nicholas Lyn, while Kishan Clarke copped the best Under-8 prize.

Kennedy Brown was victorious in the amateur section with 5.5/6 points. Second through third in that section was Nishani Clarke and Israel Isaacs.

The Robert Wheeler Chess open is a premiere annual event on Jamaica Chess Federation’s calendar and is named after one of Jamaica’s Chess Federation founding members.

Jamaica Open 2013

NM Mellace wins Jamaica Open Chess Championship

NATIONAL Master (NM) Andrew Mellace won the 2013 Jamaica Open Chess Championships held at St George’s College from October 26 through 27.

Mellace scored five points from six games (5/6), and suffered his only loss of the Open in the third round to St Jago student Alistair Walker.  Horace Sinclair turned in a fine performance to capture second with four points, while WFM Deborah Richards-Porter continued her good form to finish third, also with four points. Alistair Walker, NM Brandon Wilson, NM Mikhail Solomon and Paul Brooks finished fourth through seventh, all scoring four points, but with a weaker tie-break.

In the Intermediate Section of the tournament, Malik Gayle’s five wins and one draw (5/6) edged top-seed Leighton Barrett (5/6) with Michael Christie in third with five points (5/6). Nathan Walsh won the Under-8 section. Leighton Barrett took the Under-10, while Akeem Brown and Malik Buchanan won the Under-12 and Under-14, respectively. Sheanel Gardner was the best female in the intermediate section.

Orion Isaacs turned in a perfect performance of six wins from as many games (6/6) to win the amateur section. Quentin Forrester finished second with five points (5/6), and Rashawn White placed third, also with five points (5/6).

The next major event on the Jamaica Chess Federation calendar will be the Fredrick Cameron Open from December 14 through 15. The top three players from that Open will qualify for the 2014 Jamaica National Championships.