jamaica chess federation 2018 SUB ZONALS


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FM Shane Matthews and WCM Jennifer Vasquez Secure Subzonal 2.3.5 Victories


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FM Shane Matthews and WCM Jennifer Vasquez Secure Subzonal 2.3.5 Victories

After 5 days of competitive heart pacing games, FIDE Master (FM) Shane Matthews and Dominican Republic Woman’s Candidate Master (WCM) Jennifer Maria Almanzar Vasquez created history in winning the Absolute and Female Section’s of the 2018 Subzonal 2.3.5 recently held at the Knutsford Court Hotel.

Barbados Chess Federation President Allan Hebert who was representing señor Jorge Vega described the organization of the event as top class and was proud at how Jamaica set the record for the largest Subzonal 2.3.5 to date with 92 players in both sections combined.

After finishing in 7th place at the 2016 Subzonal in Barbados, FM Matthews won the 2018 staging undefeated to become the second to Jamaican to win the Subzonal and become an International Master (IM) after IM Jomo Pitterson.

“I feel really proud at winning the Subzonal’s and finally becoming an IM. The event was full of some extremely tough games where I was always low on time due to the complexity of those games. I must applaud the upcoming juniors who played exceptionally in such a high quality event”, quoted FM Matthews.
Second place was a tie among 4 players who each finished on 7 points each. After tie-breaks were utilized, Dominican Republican FM Christopher Guzman was second, Barbadian Martyn Del Castilho was third, FM Malaku Lorne was fourth and junior FM Joshua Christie was fifth.

The 2019 Zonal 2.3 to be held in Venezuela will see the the top players from the region including several Grandmaster’s (GM) and IM’s facing off for the chance to secure one of the 2 spots to the 2019 Chess World Cup to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The top 4 players from the Absolute Subzonal 2.3.5 are qualified directly into the 2019 Zonal 2.3 which is one of the World Chess Championship qualifying paths.

With the significance of such an international event, there was also the opportunity for players to win titles for their country. The players from the Dominican Republic who are duly qualified for the FM titles include Leonardo Rafael Estevez Polanco, Luis L. Lorenzo De Los Santos and Braulio Fernando Ramirez Reyes while Yoel Estarling Polanco Nunez is qualified for the CM title. 14 year old 3 time Carifta Champion CM Alan-Safar Ramoutar is also fully qualified for the FM title while CM Anthony Drayton still has to meet the published rating requirement before he can be awarded the FM title.

Jamaica recorded the highest number of newly titled players with CM Shreyas Smith qualified for the FM title only a few months after obtaining his CM title. The players who are qualified for the CM title include Malik Curriah, Alain Morris, National Master (NM) Andrew Mellace, NM Kevin Merritt, NM Stuart James and NM Paul Brooks. It is quite notable that St. Catherine High juniors Jhustice-Dimonte Mcdonald and Raheem Glaves and St. Jago NM Akeem Brown were able to achieve the minimum point requirement for the FM title, but will not be awarded the title until they meet the published rating requirement regulation. Other players who are also qualified for the CM title subject to meeting the published rating requirement include Andre Soares, NM Ryan Blackwood, Nathan Hinds, Christopher Lyn, Christopher Murdock, Di-Jaun Smith, Jaden Shaw, Horace Sinclair and Angelus-Seren Mcdonald.

Female Section

WCM Jennifer Vasquez finished undefeated on a solid 7 points with her victory being clear after defeating WCM Ariel Barrett in the final round.

WCM Vasquez felt a relieved after winning her final game in what was a difficult event filled with many emotions and tough decisions. She felt a lot of pride at being the first winner for the Domincan Republic in the Subzonals and being the first WIM elect as well. She described her game against CM Rachel Miller as her most difficult game and how she is looking forward to returning home with her grand victory. She said that she is going to meet her trainer and plan further as to how she will proceed with plans for next year's Zonals. FM Marcus Joseph was her interpreter during the interview.

WCM Katrina Blackman and CM Rachel Miller were tied for second place on 6.5 points, but WCM Blackman was adjudged second after tie-breaks. As a result of finishing second and third respectively, both players were awarded WIM norms with WCM Blackman being qualified subject to the published rating requirement for the WFM title. This was CM Miller’s fourth WIM norm which leaves her only to meet the rating requirement to be awarded the WIM title.

Fourth place went to Surinamese WFM Rosangela Dos Ramos who finished on 5.5 points. Fifth place was a tie among 6 players who all finished on 5 points. After tie-breaks were used, WCM Barrett was fifth, WCM Adani Clake sixth, Bahamian WCM Polina Karelina was seventh, Guyanese WFM Maria Varona-Thomas was eighth, WCM Margoe Williams in ninth place and Krishan Gray finishing on tenth place. It was also noteworthy that national women’s champion Krishna Gray is now a WCM-Elect subject to her reaching the published rating requirement.

The 2019 Female Zonal 2.3 to be held in Columbia will see the top players from the region competing for the one spot to advance to the Women’s World Chess Championship. The top 4 players from the Female Subzonal 2.3.5 are qualified directly into next year’s Zonal.

The 2018 Subzonal 2.3.5 was a 9-round open Swiss event with an Absolute and Female Section whereby the top 3 finishers in each section will advance to the Zonals which represent the next qualifier of the (Absolute) World Chess Championship and Women’s World Chess Championship, respectively. The rate of play is 90 minutes with 30 second increments after each move. Foreign participants in the event include players from the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Bahamas and Guyana.

The sponsors of the event were the Sports Development Foundation, the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Jamaica Olympic Association, Kasparov Chess Foundation, the Knutsford Court Hotel and the Magnificent Chess Foundation.



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