It all came down to the final round to decide the winners of the 2014 Digicel National Chess Championships. In the end, there were two new champions, National Master (NM) Andrew Mellace and Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Rachel Miller.
Andrew Mellace went into the final round leading by a point and needing at least a draw from his game against Shreyas Smith. Following closely was defending champion Candidate Master (CM) Damion Davy on 5.5 points and in a must-win situation versus NM Russel Porter. In the end, Davy did win his match but still could not catch Mellace, who turned back Shreyas to finish on 7.5 points.
In third place was NM Daren Wisdom on six points, who won his last-round game against a struggling Miguel Asher. NM Malaku Lorne slipped into fourth on five points with a victory over WIM Deborah Richards-Porter.
The top five of the Nationals will represent Jamaica at the Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway; but in fifth position, tied on 4.5 points each were NM Russel Porter and NM Brandon Wilson. The fifth player on the Olympiad Team is as yet undecided.
Rounding off the rest of the table was WIM Deborah Richards-Porter, NM Paul Brooks and Shreyas Smith on three points each, while Miguel Asher finished on two points.
History was created in the Women’s Nationals, as 14-year-old Rachel Miller became the youngest female to win the local championships. She finished on 5.5 points, a full point ahead of her nearest rival WCM Melisha Smith. With a win in the last round, Smith could have finished tied with Miller, but she faltered against WCM Ariel Barrett and finished on 4.5 points.
Third place went to dethroned champion Annesha Smith on four points, and fourth and fifth went to Krishna Gray on 3.5 points, and Ariel Barrett on 2.5 points, respectively.
Apart from chief sponsors Digicel, other sponsors were Norman Manley Law School, Christar Villas Hotel and Magnificent Chess Foundation.
Both the absolute and female teams will begin training immediately for the 2014 Chess Olympiad.