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NM Shreyas Smith wins 2018 Masters KO Title for the second time

By David Rose



Reigning Masters Knockout Champion, Fide Master (FM) Shreyas Smith, shook off a strong challenge from Candidate Master (CM) Mellace to defend his MKO title, by defeating CM Mellace 3-1 in this year's finals. FM Shreyas Smith first won the title last year when he defeated FM Davy in the 2017 finals.

After FM Shreyas won the first match, CM Mellace tied the series by winning the second game.

However, FM Shreyas Smith won the 3rd and 4th games to cruise to a 3-1 victory in the four game series.

The MKO main event is open only to national or internationally titled chess masters and uses an exciting knockout format until there is one king left standing.

The IM Jomo Pitterson Masters Knockout is named after one of Jamaica’s most decorated and successful chess players to date. In addition to being Jamaica’s first International Master, he was also the first Jamaican to win both the Caribbean Junior Chess Championship and Barbadian Open Junior Championship.

These accomplishments also include being one of only 4 Jamaican players to defeat a Grandmaster in classical play, winning the JCF Player of the Year and Jamaican Chess Championship 3 times, winning the second edition of the Subzonal 2.3.5, participating in 6 Olympiads and serve on the JCF Council as Treasurer and Vice President.

The MKO is open only to national or internationally titled chess masters and uses an exciting knockout format until there is one king left standing. The matches are 4 games played at a time control of 90 minutes with 30 seconds after each move with tiebreaks occurring if there is a tie at the end of classical play. The tournament, which was organised by the Jamaica Chess Federation, was made possible with the kind support of the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa, Christar Villas Hotel, Jamaica Olympic Association, Sports Development Foundation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.

Email feedback and queries to jamchessfed.secretary@gmail.com for more information on any upcoming tournaments. Also visit the Jamaica Chess Federation on Facebook or at jamchess.com.



The winner of the 20th IM JomoPitterson Masters Knockout will be decided this weekend at the head office of the Jamaica Olympic Association with climactic finale between Fide Master (FM) Shreyas Smith and Candidate Master (CM) Andrew Mellace.

Defending champion FM Smith has had a smooth tournament so far by only needing 3 games to advance to the next stage while CM Mellace has needed 4 intense games to qualify to the final.
FM Smith had a walkover with National Master (NM) Paul Brooks in the quarter finals with a score of 3 – 0 and was to face his fellow player NM Stuart James in the semi-final. This proved to be no challenge for FM Smith as he won a smooth Italian in game 1, neutralized NM James’ exchange sacrifice in the TaimonovSicillian for a draw by perpetual check and finished the match with positional play and discovered attacks in the Anderssenvariation of the Ruy Lopez in 30 moves for a score of 2.5 – 0.5.

CM Mellace has had by far the most exciting games of the tournament where he initially leads by 2 games, loses the third game and drew the fourth game which lead to the score of 2.5 – 1.5 in both matches. His first match against Trinidadian FM Marcus Jospeh was a marathon, with all the games having elements of imbalance and positional melees.

His final game against FM Joseph lasted 156 moves and took over 5 hours in a position where a loss would force the series into tiebreaks games the following day.

His semi-final match against a rested FM elect Raheem Glaves was almost a walkover as well. After the young FM elect missed his first game and had his standard French Defense crushed by CM Mellace’s positional preparation, it was all but certain that another victory would be assured by morning. However, the junior wasn’t scared of the deficit but rose to the occasion and vanquished CM Mellace’s accelerated dragon with fine positional play to force the final game in the match. Despite coming with his French Defense, CM Mellace found some tactics which left the young FM elect at a disadvantage. Despite having a slight edge in the position, CM Mellace chose to force a perpetual check with his queen and secure the draw rather than risk it and end up in tiebreaks.
FM Smith enters the final with more preparation and experience, in stark contrast to his opponent CM Mellace who has been less active in recent times.

CM Mellace will have the white pieces in his first game which should allow him to set the pace of the final.



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