2016 chess olympiad




Round 6 Report, September 8, 2016


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Jamaica’s men faced Scotland in round 6 action and fought bravely.

One of the all-time great movies is “Brave Heart” which was released in 1995 starring Mel Gibson who also won an Oscar Academy award as “Best Director”. Indeed, the film won several other Oscars including the coveted“Best Picture”. The enigmatic Gibson portrayed William Wallace who led the Scots in the first War of Independence against the English, then ruled by King Edward I (“Longshanks”!).Who can forgot the goose-pimpling cry “FFREEEDDDOOMMMMM” by the shackled Gibson/Wallace before the axe fell?

After yesterday’s rest day, action resumed today inround 6 of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad being held in Baku, Azerbaijan.In match 62 Jamaica clashed with the Scots, undoubtedly descendants of those “liberated” by Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314 after Wallace had paved the way. Although FM Warren Elliott was outclassed on board 1 losing to IM Andrew Greet, Jamaica’s men mounted stern resistance against Scotland.

On board two FM Damion Davy displayed dexterity and determination with the white pieces and had the experienced Grandmaster John Shaw, rated almost 350 points higher, in difficulty. The Jamaican man-handled his opponent’s Sicilian Dragon set-up with enterprising play andwon a pawn but the Scotsman managed to hold the ensuing double rook ending, the truce being sealed on move 48.  Davy later rued his missed chances stating that he overlooked a defensive riposte by his opponent.

FM Malaku Lorne has been one of Jamaica’s most reliable players for many years but has had a tough Olympiad to date. Against the well-travelled Grandmaster John McNab on board 3 he battened down the hatches with the black piecesand defended tenaciously. A draw beckonedwith material equal in an ending with a rook and bishops of opposite colour, but the Rastaman blundered and gifted the persistent Scot the full point.

On board 4 NM Shreyas Smith was returned to the battlefield by the “Field Marshall”JomoPitterson. Smith, Jamaica’s three-time reigning Junior Champion, essayed the King’s pawn opening (1.e4 – the favourite move of the 11th World Champion, the American Robert James “Bobby” Fischer) and was confronted by the French Defence. His opponent, FM Neil Berry, played the opening energetically and had the Jamaican in a perilous position. Undaunted, the debutant Smith displayed “brave heart” and defended as if his life depended on it. He managed to steer the game into an ending with bishops of opposite colour and salvaged a draw on move 41. This was his first positive result in three games and he heaved a sigh of relief, the Albatross falling from his neck, as he helped to salvage some pride for the team which went down 1-3 to Scotland.

In tomorrow’s7th round in match 61 Jamaica faces Sudan, the Northeastern Africans ranked five places above the West Indians who will have the black pieces on boards 1 and 3 and White on boards 2 and 4, respectively.


As a student of history I have read extensively on events involving Belgium. I recall from my High School days that this country was regarded as“the battleground of Europe”from the time of the Roman Empire. Indeed, one of the most famous battles of all time was on Belgian soil at Waterloo in 1815 when French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte(“thelittle Corporal”!)was defeated by a coalition of troops led by England’s Duke of Wellington,effectively ending the reign of one of history’s celebrated generals and most colourful figures.

Jamaica’s women(rated 75) met their “Waterloo” against the Belgian women(rated 62) in match 34. The games by the Smith sisters, Annesha and Melisha, were the first to finish as they were both defeated by two other sisters WiebkeBarbier and Astrid Barbier, on boards 3 and 4, respectively!! How often have sisters clashed against each other at an Olympiad ?One for the historians.

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Jamaica’s women battling Belgium in round 6 (match 34).

On board 1 WIM Deborah Richardscommenced with the English opening (1.c4)against WFM Hanne Goossens who proved to be a resolute adversary, compelling the Jamaican chess queen to resign in 58 moves. This meant that Jamaica went 0-3 down in the match.

In the final game to end after close to five hours, CM Rachel Miller fought well on board 2against her higher rated opponent, WFM IuliiaMorozova, and emerged a pawn up after the middle-game skirmish. She battled tenaciously in the resulting double bishop-pawn ending and with at least a draw within her grasp went astray and was checkmated on move 65.

In the 7th roundJamaica will battle Malta(rated 106) in match 47. The Jamaicans will have the white pieces on boards 1 and 3 and Black on boards 2 and 4, respectively.


Each player has 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, an additional 30 minutes thereafter, plus 30 seconds per move from move 1. A point is awarded for a win; a half point for a draw and zero for a loss on each board. When the points are tabulated the team with more will be declared the winner and awarded match points. No player is allowed to offer a draw until after 30 moves have been completed.
Jamaica’s participation was made possible chiefly by sponsorship from the Government of Jamaica (via the Sports Development Foundation), the Jamaica Chess Federation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.

Ian G. Wilkinson QC
President, Jamaica Chess Federation
Baku, Azerbaijan (Press Centre)
2016 September 8 (Thursday)

All photographs courtesy of the Jamaica Chess Federation unless indicated otherwise.

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