Claire Clarke, Contributor
National Master Russell Porter was crowned the 2012 winner of the Harold Chan Open tournament last weekend. NM Porter, who was also the captain and coach of the women's team that represented Jamaica at the 40th Olympiad in Turkey last month, finished with five points from six games.
The 2011 defending champion for this tournament, FCM Damion Davy of the University of the West Indies (UWI), was second, and police officer Peter Thomas was third.
Other prizes from the Open section included:
In the expert class for players rated 2000 to 2199 - first place went to Walter Williams from the University of Technology, second place to Alistair Walker from St Jago High, and third place to Miguel Asher from UWI.
In the Class A for players rated 1800- 1999 - first place went to Andrew Ellis from Glenmuir High, second place to Horace Sinclair from Ardenne High, and third place to Dujon Frith from National Housing Trust.
In the Class B for players rated 1600-1799 - first place went to Roderick Clifford from St Jago High, second place to Tahj Davis from Glenmuir, and third place to Nathan Hinds from St Catherine High.
The best rural player went to Roderick Clifford, who also got the prize for the being the top junior player. The best female player was Women's Fide Master Deborah Richards-Porter, with second place going to Nikita Austin, and third place to WCM Melisha Smith. The best new player went to Howien Foster.
The tournament, which attracted more than 100 players across three sections - Amateur, Intermediate and Open - is the first major tournament local since the St Jago Open held in July. While the Olympiad-fresh players like FCM Davy, WFM Richards-Porter and WCM Smith were known to be in sharp match form, the state of play for the juniors was not that clear.
For the juniors, who should soon be squaring off in the high-school tournament, Harold Chan was an important sounding board and results in some of the matchups would have sent some signals.
St Catherine High's Nathan Hinds had a great run on the weekend, beating St Jago's high-flying Alistair Walker and Calabar's National Master-in-waiting Shreyas Smith. Hinds, who managed Board 2 for St Catherine High during the last high-school chess season, must now indeed be a talent to watch for the schools in the Middlesex zone.
Roderick Clifford, the captain for St Jago team which is the defending all-island champions, had two important victories in his four points from six games statistics: first, a second-round triumph over NM Peter Myers, who did not carry the weight of player and tournament organiser too well, and in the final round was the finishing half of a high-school dream matchup in which he defeated Calabar's Smith in the last game of the tournament.
More high-school moments were there in the Intermediate section, where Glenmuir's André Nelson hit a perfect score of six from six to emerge on top of the standings, ahead of Akeel Henry and Jamie Cunningham, both from St Jago. He defeated both players on his way to his immaculate score.
Jamaica Open: Heroes weekend, venue - Kingston.
Email feedback, send in your games or upcoming tournaments to email@example.com 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.