The 2015 edition of the Jamaica Chess Federation (“JCF”) Digicel President’s Invitational Chess Tournament came to a thrilling climax on Saturday April 25 with the completion of the 11th and final round at the conference room of the Jamaica Olympic Association (“JOA”).
NM Daren “Wizzy” Wisdom notched another hold on the trophy by snatching victory at the tape by defeating Nathan Hinds with the black pieces in a tense Queen’s pawn game which, fittingly, went into a queen and pawns ending. The Charlemont High graduate recovered from a poor start to the tournament (including a shock defeat to Jared Lewis in the 3rd round) and a demoralizing loss to title challenger Miguel Asher in the 8th round, to record seven wins and end on 7 ½ points.
Asher, armed with the white pieces and gunning for the title, faced his pet French Defence (!) and crashed to defeat after losing the plot against Lewis in a sharp game. He ended on 6 ½ points, the same score as Markland Douglas who drew a dynamic King’s Indian Defence (“KID”) against WCM Melisha Smith in 40 moves. Douglas took second spot on tie-breaks.
JCF president Ian Wilkinson QC and NM Ryan Blackwood battled to a draw in 56 moves in another KID, each ending the event on 5 ½ points, Wilkinson finishing 4th on tie-breaks. In the other game of the round Kevron Campbell outclassed Terence Lindo with the black pieces in a Ruy Lopez (exchange variation). Former winner and veteran Michael Diedrick had a bye and ended 6th on 5 points; Lewis was 7th and Campbell 8th (4 ½ points each); Hinds 9th (4 points); Lindo 10th (3 points) and Smith propped up the table with 2 ½ points.
The next event on the JCF’s calendar is the 8th Robert WheelerOpen scheduled to be played May 21-24 at Christar Villas Hotel and Shirley Retreat Hotel. This is the second tournament in the JCF’s Grand Prix series which will determine the qualifiers for the 2016 Jamaican Chess Championships.
Report and photo by Ian G. Wilkinson QC – President, Jamaica Chess Federation.
Kingston, Jamaica – February 3, 2015: The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Group of Companies has thrown its support behind local Chess with a sponsorship package valued at more than $460,000 for the staging of the 2014/15 National Schools Chess Championships.
The tournament, which is the flagship junior event of the Jamaica Chess Federation, kicked off in December with 44 teams from 26 schools across the country matching skills in the Kingston and Rural area competitions. Play is scheduled to continue until March when the regional championships will be held and the winners for the Kingston Area and Rural Area will be decided.
The competition will culminate with the All Island Championship which is scheduled for March 19 at the PCJ Auditorium in New Kingston. The top team will receive $200,000 in cash and prizes courtesy of the PCJ and its subsidiary, Petrojam.
“We consider our sponsorship of the Schools Chess Championships to be a worthwhile investment in our country’s youth because Chess is one of the most constructive and beneficial sports,” PCJ Group General Manager, Winston Watson explained.
“Chess helps players to develop solid problem-solving and decision-making skills and it can improve mathematical ability and help individuals to think logically and creatively which makes it one of the most beneficial sports a young person can participate in,” he added.
Peter Myers, Vice President of the Jamaica Chess Federation said, “A major objective of the Jamaica Chess Federation is to develop a cadre of players that can become champions in the international arena and the work starts with our youngest players.”
“We are out to prove that Jamaicans can be as dominant in mental sports as we are in physical sports and we thank the PCJ Group for their tangible support as we embark on this mission,” he added.
Petrojam’s Public Relations Officer, Latoya Pennant, (right) and Camille Taylor, (centre) Manager, Information and Corporation Affairs at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) enjoying an impromptu chess lesson from Vice President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, Peter Myers. The PCJ Group of Companies recently finalised a sponsorship agreement with the Jamaica Chess Federation under which the Federation will receive a sponsorship package valued at more than $460,000 for the staging of the 2014-15 National Schools Chess Championships.
Peter Myers, (left) Vice President of the Jamaica Chess Federation explains the basics of chess to Camille Taylor, (centre) Manager, Information and Corporation Affairs at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and Latoya Pennant, Petrojam’s Public Relations Officer. The PCJ Group of Companies recently finalised a sponsorship agreement with the Jamaica Chess Federation under which the Federation will receive a sponsorship package valued at more than $460,000 for the staging of the 2014-15 National Schools Chess Championships.
Both Jamaican teams scored identical victories today against tough opponents in the 8th round of the (41st) World Chess Olympiad being held in Tromso, Norway. In the Women’s Section, wins by WIM Deborah Richards-Porter and WFM Rachel Miller on the top two boards, aided by a draw from WCM Melisha Smith, spearheaded a 2 ½ – 1 ½ victory over Sri Lanka. Curiously, this avenged the loss by Jamaica’s Open/Men’s team to Sri Lanka in yesterday’s 7th round action. In the 9th round tomorrow the Jamaicans will face Malta.
The Russians were comfortable 3 ½ – ½ winners against Hungary and moved to 16 points maintaining the lead in the Women’s section. Tomorrow they will face Armenia (13) while China (who defeated Poland 3-1 and is in clear 2nd place on 14 points) will clash with France (13) who defeated the USA 2 ½ – 1 ½.
In the Open Section the Jamaicans fought hard to defeat a determined Ivory Coast team 2 ½ – 1 ½ with victories by the in-form CM Damion Davy and CM-elect Ras Malaku Lorne on the top two boards. CM-elect Brandon Wilson drew on board 4 to secure the victory. Davy has a chance to earn the higher FIDE Master (“FM”) title if he wins his next game to reach the coveted 6 points. The Jamaicans have now amassed 8 points and will face a tough Zimbabwe in the next round.
China soundly defeated long-time leaders Azerbaijan 3-1 to move to 14 points and assume the lead in the Open section ahead of several teams all on 13 points – France, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic and Romania. In tomorrow’s 9th round the Chinese face a tricky match on the top boards against former two-time champion Ukraine; the Czech Republic plays France and Azerbaijan will try to recover some momentum against Romania.
What a round! The 6th round of the (41st) World Chess Olympiad being held in Tromso, Norway saw enthralling chess being played as teams stepped up their game. I decided to start with the Women’s Section as for some reason music is in my head and I can hear Queen Latifah and Monie Love rapping “Ooooh ladies first, ladies first….”! Perhaps the melodies in my head are due to the much-anticipated Team Kasparov’s Polar Fest set for August 9 at 8:00 pm. “Magic” is in the air!
The Chinese cemented their place at the top of the standings with their 6th straight win, a clinical 3-1 beating of Hungary with wins by the reigning Women’s World Champion GM Hou Yifan and GM Zhao Xue on boards 1 and 3, respectively. The other two games were drawn.
The defending champions, Russia, kept pace with the Chinese by defeating Serbia 3 ½ – ½, their three wins including one on the top board from GM Kateryna Lagno, the former Ukraine player continuing to do well for her new team. Lagno does not seem to be distracted by the attention brought by her much publicized and controversial transfer from Ukraine earlier in the year.
The Chinese women lead the standings on tie-breaks ahead of Russia although each is on 12 points. Poland is in clear third on 11 points. In the 7th round tomorrow the top two teams will face each other in a marquee match that could go a far way in deciding the gold medals. These games should attract a lot of attention. In the other top two pairings Poland will face France (10 points) and Hungary (10) battle Romania (10).
ROLLER-COASTER OLYMPIAD FOR WEST INDIANS – JAMAICA ACHIEVES FIRST TITLE!
Jamaica’s topsy-turvy Olympiad continued as the women’s team fought hard but were no match for the higher-ranked Paraguay, losing ½- 3 ½ .The silver lining in the dark cloud of defeat was Annesha Smith’s draw with the black pieces on board 4 to spare the losers’ blushes and register her 4th consecutive, undefeated game. Annesha’s performance (3 ½ points out of a possible 5) has guaranteed that she will leave Norway with at least the Woman Candidate Master (“WCM”) title. This positive development means that the Jamaicans will achieve one of their objectives early, namely gaining international titles.
Jamaica’s West Indian neighbours Barbados lost 1-3 to a tough Malta team but Trinidad & Tobago tasted success defeating Seychelles by the same scoreline. Tomorrow, Jamaica will face the Dominican Republic, Barbados will tackle Aruba and Trinidad & Tobago will have Macedonia.
REGGAE CHESS AMBASSADORS WIN AGAIN!
Jamaica’s men did well to defeat a tough Malawi team 2 ½ – 1 ½ after good victories from the form players CM Damion Davy and Ras Malaku Lorne on boards 1 and 2, respectively. The Jamaicans have now won 3 of their 6 matches moving up to 88th position and will face a combative Sri Lanka in the next round. The two teams drew in the final round of the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad.
Jamaica’s West Indian neighbours Barbados (#130) and Trinidad & Tobago (#144) faced stiff opposition and did not survive losing 1-3 to Angola and ½- 3 ½ to Japan, respectively. Barbados will have a much easier time in the next round against Gambia, while Trinidad will have an interesting time against Honduras. The Bahamas (#152) will press for more success against Guam after turning back Palau 2 ½ – 1 ½. Although Guyana (#136) lost 1-3 to Nigeria the team nonetheless tasted some success as Anthony Drayton upset IM Bunmi Olape on board 1! The Guyanese will face Namibia next.
A NUMBER OF TEAMS ARE ON A MISSION!
Azerbaijan continued to demonstrate that their occupancy of the top spot is no fluke as they dispatched an audacious Georgia 3 ½ – ½ with a key victory on board 1 from the rampaging GM Shakriyar Mamedyarov against the exciting (mercurial?) GM Baadur Jobava. Valuable supporting wins also came from GMs Rauf Mamedov and Eltaj Safarli on boards 3 and 4, respectively. The Azeris are playing with purpose and perhaps want to win the Olympiad in memory of their outstanding warrior, GM Vugar Gashimov of recent, blessed memory.
The Cubans, the Caribbean’s top players but perennial “bridesmaids”, have looked determined as if they are also on a mission. The “Havana Knights” dismantled Kazkhstan 3 ½ – ½ with wins from GMs Lazaro Bruzon, Yuniesky Quesada and Reynaldo Ortiz on boards 2-4, respectively.
Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion and World’s highest rated player, displayed his magnificent class by issuing the precise commands to his pawns and pieces (all of which dutifully obeyed!) resulting in a convincing defeat of Italy’s supremo GM Fabiano Caruana in a spine-tingling top board clash of two of the world’s top three players. Wins by GMs Jon Ludvig Hammer and Kjetil Lie (who exorcised some demons!) rounded off an excellent 3-1 victory for the hosts. In the next round the Norwegians, climbing up the table to 18th, will face Germany.
Although former world champion GM Vladimir Kramnik lost to former FIDE KO Champion GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov on the top board, Russia rallied to beat Uzbekistan 2 ½ – 1 ½ through victories by GMs Alexander Grischuk and Ian Nepomniatchi. In other top ten match-ups Bulgaria and Serbia drew 2-2 as did France and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Azerbaijan and Cuba are tied at the top on 11 points with 5 wins and a draw, the Europeans leading on tie-breaks. Russia, China, Serbia and the Netherlands come next each on 10 points with 4 wins and 2 draws.
In tomorrow’s major 7th round contests, Azerbaijan will match wits against Cuba in a clash of continents, Russia will face the Czech Republic and Serbia and China go head to head.
The 10th round of the (41st) World Chess Olympiad being held in Tromso, Norway was historic for Jamaica. August 12 will be remembered as the day Jamaica’s three-time National Champion CM Damion Davy performed magnificently and won “to order” (as Garry Kasparov would say!) reaching 6 points from 9 games to earn the FIDE Master (“FM”) title. Playing with the white pieces and needing a win to get the title, Davy faced the experienced FM Roy Phillips of Mauritius and finished gloriously with a Bishop and Knight checkmate, a feat many have failed to accomplish. Damion’s victory (plus Daren Wisdom’s first win of the tournament!) enabled the Jamaicans to draw 2-2 and gave them a chance to win their category (“D”) or, alternatively, finish among the medals when they face Palestine in the 11th (final) round tomorrow.
In other Caribbean results, Bahamas had another strong performance with a 2 ½ – 1 ½ win over Mauritania to surge up the standings in their category (“E”) with chances to finish in the top three. Trinidad & Tobago was put to the sword 0-4 by Mongolia while young WFM Yu Tien Poon earned a draw for Barbados on board 4 to salvage some pride in Yemen’s 3 ½ – ½ victory. Although Guyana lost 1 ½ – 2 ½ to Afghanistan, Netherland Antilles defeated Guam 3 ½ – ½ and US Virgin Islands and Bermuda defeated Swaziland and Solomon Islands 4-0, respectively.
THE CHINESE IN POLE POSITION!
France’s title chances nose-dived after GM Yu Yangyi’s crucial win over GM Laurent Fressinet on board 3 separated the teams, China winning the top board clash 2 ½ – 1 ½ to make the men from the Orient the odds-on favourites to win a landmark first title. This loss obviously pained the French as late into the night (after 3 am the next morning!) on leaving the “Jamaica Party” at Bar 24, French GM Etienne Bacrot could be heard repeating, wistfully, that they lost to China!
Of the chasing pack Hungary defeated Romania 3-1 to give themselves a chance of catching the Chinese if they slip. Bulgaria’s chances went up in smoke after a 1 ½ – 2 ½ loss to Poland and the 2-2 draw between Ukraine and Azerbaijan did not help either team. Cuba beat Georgia 3 ½ – ½ and Russia defeated Serbia 2 ½ – 1 ½ to give both victors faint, but unlikely, hopes of medaling while Armenia, the defending champion, surrendered its title with a 2-2 draw against Vietnam.
In a shocker, Croatia’s top GM Ivan Saric totally outclassed World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen to hand the Norwegian his second loss of the tournament. Croatia’s convincing 3 ½ – ½ victory effectively means that the hosts Norway will end the event empty-handed without either team or individual glory.
Today is the second rest day and heading into tomorrow’s final round China leads on 17 points, Hungary is second on 16 and 8 teams are tied on 15 – France, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Uzbekistan, India, Azerbaijan and Poland. China is likely to win gold with their great form but the silver and bronze medals are still up for grabs and will be determined after the following games – Poland-China, Hungary-Ukraine, Russia-France, Azerbaijan-USA and India-Uzbekistan. Of course, if China loses and Hungary wins the “Magyars” will take top honours.
In good individual performances from the African continent Zambia’s IM Stanley Chumfwa played well to defeat Ireland’s GM Alexander Baburin on board 1 as the teams drew 2-2; CM Bomo Kigigha (rated 2197) drew with Albania’s top player GM Erald Dervishi (2581!) as the Europeans won 3-1; and the untitled Algerian Yamine Seddaoui (2105) drew with the Austrian IM Robert Kreisl (2432) Austria winning 3 ½ – ½.
UKRAINIAN WOMEN DEFEAT RUSSIA!
The political intrigue between Russia and Ukraine over the past few months have captivated the world, especially with the controversial annexation of Crimea. The tension between the two countries spilled over into the Chess arena when the Russian Chess Federation pounced and lured Ukraine’s top female player, GM Kateryna Lagno, to switch Federations. Indeed, among other things, it is alleged that the delay of this transfer resulted in the delayed registration of Russia’s women’s team and the consequent refusal by the Norwegian organizers to allow the team entry into the Olympiad. Of course, this decision was sagaciously reversed.
To combat the loss of their star player, Ukraine in turn “retrieved” GM Anna Muzychuk from Slovenia to bolster its top board. In today’s 10th round the two teams met setting the stage for great tension. As the contest raged drawing its fair share of attention the two “transferees”, Muzychuk and Lagno battled to a tense draw on board 1. On board 2 IM Maria Muzychuk was up to the task holding the freshly-minted Women’s European Champion GM Valentina Gunina. On board 3, two former Women’s World Champions faced off but neither Russia’s GM Alexandra Kosteniuk nor Ukraine’s GM Anna Ushenina could break the stalemate. It was on board 4 that what some would call poetic justice occurred as GM Natalia Zhukova defeated WGM Olga Girya to bring Ukraine victory 2 ½ – 1 ½ , inflicting the first loss on the Russians. Later I saw an obviously upset Kosteniuk walking alone on the streets heading to her hotel.
Fortunately for the Russians China was surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw by Spain. Although GM Hou Yifan won on board 1, IM Ana Matnadze proved too strong for WGM Tan Zhongyi on board 3. Georgia defeated Poland 3-1 and Germany bested Romania 2 ½ – 1 ½ to give themselves a chance of finishing among the medals.
Russia is clinging to the lead with 18 points; China and Ukraine are tied on 17; Germany comes next on 16 and Georgia, Spain, Bulgaria and Armenia round off the top 8 with 15 each. The matches that should decide the medals in tomorrow’s final round are Russia-Bulgaria; Ukraine-China; Georgia-Germany; and Armenia-Spain.
JAMAICAN’S WIM DEBORAH RICHARDS-PORTER BATTLE WGM TO A DRAW!
Jamaica (ranked 88) entered the 10th round in 57th position (!) facing the “Ottoman’s Empire’s” strong warriors (ranked 33 – all of 55 places ahead!). In a gutsy and solid performance by WIM Deborah Richards-Porter on board 1 the Jamaican showed good technique and resilience to hold Turkey’s very experienced and highly acclaimed player WGM Betul Cemre Yildiz to a draw. The Turk is rated almost 300 points over the Jamaican and has beaten some of the world’s top players including reigning Women’s World Champion China’s GM Hou Yifan!
Wins on the other 3 boards handed Turkey a 3 ½ – ½ victory. Special mention must be made of the effort by 14 year-old Jamaican Champion WFM Rachel Miller on board 2. Playing in her first Olympiad Miller faced WGM Kubra Ozturk (rated more than 500 points over the young Jamaican!) and fought bravely maintaining the advantage after more than 40 moves (!!) had been played before running into time trouble and eventually capitulating.
Jamaica (on 10 points) has the unenviable task of defeating a tough Iceland team (with Women Grandmasters and Women International Masters and also on 10 points) in the final round to have a chance of finishing among the medals in their category.
In other West Indian matches Barbados lost 1-3 to Zimbabwe while Trinidad & Tobago drew 2-2 with Namibia and will next face Mozambique and Ethiopia, respectively. In a couple of note-worthy results from the African continent, Kenya routed Cameroon 4-0, the same score-line in Malawi’s win over Swaziland.
Report and photographs by Ian Wilkinson QC
Jamaica’s Chef de Mission
August 13, 2014
The third round of the (41st) World Chess Olympiad being held in Tromso, Norway saw Jamaica’s women’s making a very positive step towards trying to win the Gold in its category and repeating their historic achievement at the 2010 Olympiad in Russia.
The “Reggae Chess Ambassadors” notched their first win with a 4-0 thrashing of Sudan on Monday August 4, 2014. Ten-time Jamaican Women’s Champion WIM Deborah Richards-Porter won her second consecutive victory after earlier wins by National Women’s Champion 14 year-old WFM Rachel Miller and Krishna Gray who was playing her first game. In the last game to finish, Annesha Smith rounded off the results with her second straight victory after turning the tables in a difficult game.
In the 4th round the women will face a stern test against the much higher rated Australians with Jamaica having the black pieces on the 1st and 3rd boards. The Jamaicans, ranked 88 out of 136 countries, are currently in 74th position.
Jamaica’s men fought gallantly against the much higher rated Tajikistan after falling behind 0-2, CM Damion Davy and Daren Wisdom losing to their higher rated opponents on boards 1 and 3, respectively. NM Brandon Wilson won his second straight game on board 4 and then the “Rock”, Ras Malaku Lorne, continued to show superb form with a hard-fought draw on board 2. The Jamaican men, ranked 122 out of 177 countries, hold down the 96th position.
Jamaica’s Caribbean neighbours had mixed fortunes. Trinidad & Tobago thumped Seychelles 4-0, a scoreline mirrored by the Netherland Antilles against the British Virgin Islands and Surinam over Gambia; Aruba defeated Macau 3-1; the strong Cuban team had a solid 2-2 draw against European powerhouse Poland, so did the US Virgin Islands against Togo; Barbados and Haiti lost 0-4 to Singapore and Ecuador, respectively; Bahamas, playing in its first Olympiad in a couple of decades, lost 1-3 to Bermuda, the Jamaican Clevert Bacchas scoring for the victors on board one and Cecil Moncur sparing the losers’ blushes with a win over Gary Cooper on board 3.
WEST INDIAN “WAR”!!
An interesting scenario has developed as in tomorrow’s 4th round there will be an early “West Indian war” as Jamaica’s men will face their Barbadian counterparts with the Jamaicans having the white pieces on boards 1 and 3. The two teams also met in the last Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey (2012) with Jamaica winning 2 ½ – 1 ½ behind victories from CM Damion Davy and CM Duane Rowe who is not in the squad.
FRANCE LEADING THE OLYMPIAD!
In the chief section of the Olympiad (the Absolute or Open section with roughly nine hundred players includinga handful of women), the French lead on tie-breaks ahead of Serbia and Russia. All three teams have won their three matches to date. On the top boards in the 4th round France will battle Azerbaijan, Serbia the Czech Republic and Russia will face China.
In the Women’s Section of the Olympiad the Iranians (who defeated Jamaica in round 1) surprisingly lead ahead of China and Armenia with the defending champions Russia in 4th. Some interesting match-ups will unfold in the 4th round as Iran face Slovakia, China battle Azerbaijan and Armenia will tackle Indonesia. Russia face a tricky test against Germany.
Jamaica’s Open (Men’s) team to the (41st) World Chess Olympiad being held in Tromso, Norway notched its first win with an emphatic 3 ½- ½ display against Kuwait on Sunday August 3, 2014.
Victories by CM Damion Davy, NM Malaku Lorne and NM Brandon Wilson on boards 1, 2 and 4, respectively, were accompanied by a defiant defence from Jamaican champion Andrew Mellace who drew on board 3. The Jamaicans will have the black pieces on boards 1 and 3 when they face a tough Tajikistan aggregation in the third round on Monday August 4.
In the Women’s section, victories by 10-time Jamaican Women’s Champion WIM Deborah Richards-Porter and Annesha Smith on boards 1 and 4, respectively, ensured a 2-2 draw with Namibia. WFM Rachel Miller, having a rough Olympiad debut, and WCM Melisha Smith lost on boards 2, and 3, respectively. Jamaica will have the white pieces on boards 1 and 3 when they face Sudan in the third round on Monday.
The Jamaican women led the English-speaking Caribbean to glory in 2010 winning the Gold in its category at the Olympiad in Russia.