Deborah Richards-Porter, the English-speaking Caribbean’s top female Chess player, left Jamaica on Sunday August 31 to participate in the Women’s Pan-American Continental Chess Tournament being held in Palmira, Valle del Cauca, Colombia from September 1 -7, 2014.

The event is a nine-round Swiss tournament and the 29 year-old Jamaican is in pursuit of her Woman Grandmaster (“WGM”) title. The Colombian event is a crucial stepping stone to achieving this milestone as the winner will achieve a WGM norm.

Richards-Porter has had a stellar year to date. In February she continued her record-making performances by finishing third in the Female Sub-Zonals held in Suriname. This qualification event for the Women’s World Championship earned her the Woman International Master (“WIM”) title – a first for the English-speaking Caribbean. Her first international title was Woman FIDE Master (“WFM”), also a first for the English-speaking Caribbean, awarded for her performance at the 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.

In the 41st Chess Olympiad held in Tromso, Norway last month she was Jamaica’s top scorer, playing in all eleven rounds and scoring 7/11 including magnificent battles in the last two rounds against WGMs from Turkey and Iceland, respectively, that ended in draws.

The trip by Jamaica’s record Women’s Champion, who won ten consecutive national titles between 2002 and 2011, was sponsored by the Jamaica Chess Federation.