2018 national chess championships


Krishna Gray is Jamaica’s Female National Chess Champion for 2018



The 2018 National Women’s Chess Championship of Jamaica ended last weekend at the Christar Villas Hotel, with Krishna Gray capturing the National Women’s Champion title. This was Gray’s second hold on the National title which she first won in 2012.  

Gray took the lead from the midway mark, when she was on 5 points from 6 games. She never looked back, remaining unbeaten in the 11 Round Robin Tournament. Commenting on the win, Gray stated “This prestigious 11-round competition was truly grueling, but I was really proud that I competed and ended undefeated.”

With this win, Gray secured her place on the national team, which will participate at the 43rd Chess Olympiad to be held later this year in Batumi, Georgia.  This will be the fourth time that Gray will represent Jamaica at the biennial Chess Olympiad, where she will be seeking to gain a much sought after international title which has eluded her thus far.

Historic Championship

The English-Speaking Caribbean’s top female place, Woman International Master (WIM) Deborah Richards-Porter, did not play in the Championship this year, but qualifies for the Women’s National Team by virtue of her current rating and performance over the past year. WIM Richards-Porter pointed out that “in many ways this was an historic Women’s Championship for Jamaica, given that it is the first time that the there was a full field of 12 players, enabling an 11 game Round Robin format.” She added “it was also encouraging that 7 of the 12 players are actually juniors, all of whom are currently playing in the PCJ National High Schools Chess Championship, and will be playing in the upcoming Serge Island National Age Group Championships to be staged this weekend.”

WCM Ariel Barrett Secures Second Place

Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Ariel Barrett who was the Women’s National Champion in 2015, was one of the favourites for the 2018 title being the highest rated player in the field. After 3 rounds she was on a perfect 3 points, and then had draws with St. Jago standout WCM Adani Clarke, Campion’s Sheanel Gardner and the eventual champion Krishna Gray.  Barrett suffered her first loss in Round 7 to another Campionite Aulanni Kidd, who performed very well, ending in fourth place on 6.5 points, creating many upsets along the way in only her second appearance in the National Championship. After the loss, WCM Barrett gained momentum winning three of the final four games, to end the tournament in second place with 7.5 points.  

WCM Margoe Williams Returns

After a long hiatus, WCM Margoe Williams returned to competitive play with intense determination. Overcoming personal challenges, WCM Williams had an amazing performance which was topped off by a win against the WCM Barrett in the final 11th round, ending on 7 points, and securing a place on the national team.

The final standings for the championship are as follows:

1.      Krishna Gray (8.5 points)

2.      WCM Ariel Barrett (7.5 points)

3.      WCM Margoe Williams (7 points)

4.      Aulanni Kidd (6.5 points)

5.      WCM Adani Clarke (6 points)

6.      WCM Annesha Smith (5.5 points)

7.      Sheanel Gardner (5 points)

8.      WCM Melisha Smith (5 points)

9.      Raehanna Brown (4.5 points)

10.  Alliyah Yankana (4.5 points)

11.  Rochelle Porter (4 points)

12.  Ashanti Blackwood (2.5 points)

The sponsors of the 2018 National Chess Championship included the Sports Development Foundation, the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christar Villas Hotel and the Magnificent Chess Foundation.