Claire Clarke, Contributor
Volume 2 No.4
A good night's rest is one of the commandments of chess that many young players just don't get. But, in finishing the final Open tournament of the year last weekend with a perfect score, Fide Candidate Master (FCM), Damion Davy explained that a healthy dose of sleep ensured that he dismantled a threat from Lebanon to put him in line to secure yet another championship title.
Conversely, his Lebanese opponent Khaled Shehab said fatigue saw to his demise against Davy.
FCM Davy finished with a perfect score of five points from five games in the Fred Cameron Open held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston last weekend. This is the second time in his career that FCM Davy has completed a tournament with a perfect-score victory.
The Fred Cameron Open, named after the only surviving member of the trio of founders of the Jamaica Chess Federation, seems to be a competition that favours a perfect end. Last year, too, Calabar student Shreyas Smith, on his birthday, won this event with a perfect score of four points from four games. Though he played, Smith could not defend his title this year, and FCM Davy returned to reclaim this title that he last held in 2010.
It was a decent field of players, including the two National Champions for 2012, FCM Davy and National Master Andrew Mellace, NM Peter Myers, NM Daren Wisdom, NM Stuart James and two international players including Chappel Whyms from The Bahamas, and Shehab from Lebanon.
an exciting addition
Shehab promised to be an exciting addition to the line-up. Boasting a strong rating with an unknown repertoire, he started the weekend with a bang and blast, ending day one with three points from three games and setting up a nice showdown on Sunday morning between himself and FCM Davy who were both on maximum points.
The result of this game set the platform to decide it all, and both players gave supporting reasons that qualify the result and underscore that, sleep is the chess player's 17th piece!
"I prepared for the man from Lebanon by sleeping, it helps me to think clearly at the board," said FCM Davy. Simply put by the newly crowned champion, this contrasts the agony of a plan gone wrong - "I made a big mistake yesterday (Saturday), I played for nine hours and I didn't sleep. I came late (Sunday morning) and was still tired. When you are sleepy, most likely you are going to lose," said Shehab.
In the Open section, four players were locked on four points when the tournament ended. On tiebreak, second place went to André Soares, third to Miguel Asher, fourth to Shehab, and fifth to Paul Brooks.
A full report on the other sections and prizes will be carried next week, covering the Intermediate, Amateur and other sectional prizes won in the tournament that had over 120 players participating.
In the opening and closing portions of this tournament, JCF President Ian Wilkinson made some special announcements of pending developments and additional awards.
The JCF head honcho put up notice that Jamaica intends to submit to FIDE a proposal to remove players' ability to agree to a draw in tournaments. This comes just shy of one year of Wilkinson's pronouncement that the JCF would be looking at ways to manage the habit of agreed draws by players in tournaments.
In last weekend's tournament, players could not ask for a draw in under 50 moves and, even then, the draw request had to go to the tournament director. Wilkinson suggested that players agreeing to draws in chess were as unreasonable as two international football teams stopping in the middle of a match and agreeing to a draw and playing no more. This approach to draws, he indicated, was not okay.
Also announced to start next year is a new award being put up by the JCF for the best chess analyst of the year. Wilkinson bemoaned that many of the island's top players, especially those with international titles, were not doing game analysis, and it is hoped that this award will stimulate this habit.
This gap, he said, has not gone unnoticed by the international chess community, which has been querying the absence of Jamaican chess analysis. In making the appeal for this important area of chess to surface on the Jamaican landscape, Wilkinson underscored how important this was to the overall development of the game locally and to improving the strength of younger and more mature players.
Special awards announced at the weekend tournament included: Chess Fair Play award: Fide Master Shane Matthews, Player of the Year: FCM Damion Davy; Most Improved Player: Michael Diedrick; and Chess Journalist of the Year: Claire Clarke.
Jamaicans are now overseas competing in two different tournaments. Some juniors from clubs are off to Florida to compete in the 14th Annual Junior Orange Bowl Chess tournament, and two university teams, one from the University of the West Indies and the other from the University of Technology, are off to Princeton, New Jersey to compete in the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships. Both tournaments started yesterday and end tomorrow.
14th Annual Junior Orange Bowl tourney in Miami, Florida: December 27- 29
Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship, Princeton, New Jersey: December 27-29John Powell Memorial Open High School playoffs - rural and urban: last weekend in January or the first weekend in February 2013.
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.