Big move at Chess Olympiad
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's Reggae Chess Ambassadors had a successful campaign at the 41st Chess Olympiad that was held in Tromso, Norway, from August 1-15, where the country's male and female teams improved their overall rankings.
Players like Damion Davy, Malaku Lorne, Brandon Wilson and Annesha Smith also earned top honours, after notable performances qualified them for international titles.
The men's team, seeded 122nd ended, made huge advances to 89 after beating Palestine 2 1/2-1/2 points.
In the female segment, the Jamaicans were outscored 1/2-3 1/2 points by Iceland. They finished the competition ranked 87th after being seeded at number 88.
President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, Ian Wilkinson, is proud of the achievements.
"As president, I am very proud of the teams, as they represented Jamaica with discipline, fight and national pride.
"The performances show that our chess has improved leaps and bounds."
Wilkinson attributed Jamaica's success to hard work and investment.
"This is the first time in our Olympiad history that we've won so many titles in one event," he noted. "Our players' technical ability has improved and members have greater confidence to compete."
"Chess continues to soar locally, with thousands of new players," he added.
"To commemorate our success, we plan a historic launch of the Jamaica Chess Hall of Fame at an awards ceremony on September 26," Wilkinson outlined.
From an international perspective, the Olympiad saw a number of outstanding performances.
China's men's team ended the championship unbeaten, after they were seeded at number seven.
Russia's women were crowned champions after they lost only one game. Cuba was the number-one-ranked Caribbean team at seventh in the men's competition and 30th among the women.
Jamaica was the Caribbean's most improved team behind Cuba.
"In matches lost, we were almost equal or better than our opponents. We just lacked the technical knowledge to finish successfully," Wilkinson observed. "We also needed more equipment, like laptops and chess software, to assist our preparation."