Claire Clarke, Contributor
Volume 1. No.48
And they are off! Well, at least the Corporate Area leg of the 2012/13 season of the National High School Chess Tournament.
Across St Andrew and Kingston, 23 teams are in contention for the Urban High School Chess championship title. These 23 teams have been fielded by 13 schools which have been divided into St Andrew zones 2A and 2B and Kingston zone. The urban champions then go on to meet the rural champions to decide on the all-island winner.
Defending Urban High School Chess champion Campion College have shown their depth of chess activity registering four teams; Ardenne, who were pre-season favourites last year, and Calabar High, with the highest rated high schooler under their wings, Shreyas Smith, will both field three teams. Jamaica College with its revived chess programme, Immaculate High and Kingston College will have two teams each while Meadowbrook, Excelsior, Wolmer's Boys, Camperdown High, Charlie Smith High, St George's College and Wolmer's Girls have one team each.
Within this line-up are a number of past all-island champions. These include Campion College who have held the all-island title seven times, last lien was in 2011; Jamaica College have been in the winner's circle four times, the last time being 1992; Kingston College have held the title five times, with their last lien in 1988.
Meadowbrook have been title holders twice and last took the title in 2002, and Wolmer's Boys have won once in 2000.
The compositions of the zones are:
St Andrew Zone 2A: Campion College A; Ardenne High B; Campion College D; Calabar High A; Jamaica College A; Calabar High C and Immaculate Conception High B.
St Andrew Zone 2B: Ardenne High A; Campion College C; Jamaica College B; Campion College B; Meadowbrook; Ardenne High C; Immaculate Conception High A; Calabar High B.
Kingston Zone: Kingston College A; Excelsior; Kingston College B; Wolmer's Boys; Camperdown High; Charlie Smith; St George's College and Wolmer's Girls.
On the board, action in the opening matches saw decisive victories for the most part across the three zones. In St Andrew Zone 2A: Campion A beat Ardenne B 4-0; Campion D and Calabar drew; Jamaica College A beat Calabar C 4-0. Immaculate are on four points as they got a bye.
In St Andrew Zone 2B: Ardenne A beat Campion C 4-0; Campion B beat Jamaica College B 4-0; Ardenne C beat Meadowbrook 4-0 and Calabar High beat Immaculate 3-1. In Kingston zone: Kingston College beat Excelsior 3.5 - 0.5; Wolmer's Boys beat Kingston College B 3 - 1; Camperdown beat Charlie Smith 4 - 0.
ChessMate selects teams to watch based only on past experience seen of players.
Campion College A: Andrew Folkes, Jason Lawson, Sekani Boxill and Rachel Miller are a complete unit packed with experience. The core team that won the urban title last year but were defeated by St Jago in the all-island match-up, is joined by Rachel Miller on board 4.
The Jamaica College A unit of Jonathan Orgill (formerly of Ardenne), Nathan Bellinfante, Ian Ramsay and Xavian Parkinson are not to be taken lightly.
Ardenne A with Horace Sinclair, Damani Reid, Jeremy Parchment and Joshua Orgill have lost big brother Orgill to Jamaica College, but are still a force to be reckoned with in spite of years of flattering to deceive. They might just come good this year when they are not the hot pick.
Calabar have not displayed a team with the mighty Shreyas Smith who was a National Master in waiting this year, but we surmise that he should be joining the Calabar A team of Moses Linton, Ajani Domville, Oshane Francis and Kemar Henry. While supporting cast for Smith is often hard to find, the team last year did get to the urban finals and were beaten by Campion.
The teams for the rural leg of the high-school tournament have not yet been made public.
Email feedback, send in your games or upcoming tournaments to email@example.com 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.