Claire Clarke, Contributor
Volume 1. No. 39
Sprint queen Merlene Ottey now runs for Slovenia and, who knows, an offer might now come up for Jamaican chess players to join her after their exploits in Turkey this week. Local chess stalwart International Master Jomo Pitterson shaved down to size Slovene Grand Master Matej Sebenik on board two in the opening round of the Open team section at the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.
IM Pitterson would have stunned the 30-year-old GM Sebenik, considered to be one of Europe's top players and who would not have imagined himself on the losing end in a game against the Jamaicans. The four boards of the Slovenian team were adorned by four grand masters, but in Tuesday's opener, the Jamaicans were not intimidated.
On board one in round one, Fide Master Warren Elliot held out for draw and a valuable half point against Russia-born Slovene GM Alexander Beliavsky for Jamaica to finish their opening matchup with a scoreline of 1.5 to Slovenia's 2.5. Playing on board three, CM Duane Rowe fell early to GM Jure Borisek, and National Master and National Champion Damion Davy on board four put up a titanic struggle against GM Jure Skoberne, which he eventually lost.
Slovenia started the Olympiad ranked 28 compared to Jamaica at 105 of the 156 teams competing in the Open section of the tournament.
The women's team went down 4-0 to Serbia. The Serbian team is comprised of two grand masters and two international masters.
But in round two on Wednesday, the women turned the result table around, defeating Aruba 2.5 to 1.5. Jamaica had victories on board one where Women's Fide Master Deborah Richards-Porter beat Manuelle Dania; National Champion Krishna Gray trounced Claudia Carrero; Ariel Barrett fought to hold on for a draw after 61 moves against Maria Paula De Rey; and Jamaica's Hui Zhu lost to Aruba's Annelaine Jacobs.
In round two, the Jamaican Open team managed only to muster one point against Algeria from NM Davy's victory on board four over IM Lies Dekar.
Play of all the games in the Olympiad can be followed online at http://www.chessolympiadistanbul.com/livegames/
Red Skorpion Blitz Invitational No. 2: September 1, 57 Sandhurst Crescent, Kingston
Chess Olympiad: August 27-September 10, Istanbul, Turkey.
Harold Chan Open: September 29 and 30 at a venue to be announced.
Email feedback, send in your games or upcoming tournaments to firstname.lastname@example.org and join the Facebook page Chessmate.Claire Clarke is a former Women's National Champion, three-time Jamaica Women's team Chess Olympiad representative, trained journalist and editor.