Claire Clarke, Contributor
Volume 2. No. 8
A series of new champions were crowned at the end of the first leg of the 2013 National Age Group Chess Championships last weekend at St Hugh's Preparatory School.
The tournament organised by Chess Unlimited was sponsored by Grace Tropical Rhythms, which has been on board now for over three years.
Last weekend, the first of four days slated for the completion of this tournament, catered to youngsters in the under 8, under 12 and under 16, open and girls playing six rounds of chess over two days.
And the winners were:
Under 8 - Open
|1st - Nathan Walsh -||6/6|
|2nd - Christopher Udagho -||5/6|
|3rd - Amari Arscott -||5/6|
Under 8 - Female
|1st - Kennedy Brown -||4/6|
|2nd - Jeshana Vincent -||3.5/6|
|3rd - Jodi Ann Johnson -||3/6|
Under 12 - Open
|1st - Leighton Barrett -||6/6|
|2nd - Gordon Desouza -||6/6|
|3rd - Alaunni Kidd -||5/6|
Under 12 - Female
|1st - Rochelle Porter -||5/6|
|2nd - Alaunni Kidd -||5/6|
|3rd - Gabrielle Simpson -||4/6|
Under 16 - Open
|1st - Alistair Walker -||6/6|
|2nd - Rachel Miller -||5/6|
|3rd - Jabari Hastings -||4/6|
Under 16 - Female
|1st - Rachel Miller -||5/6|
|2nd - Sheanel Gardner -||4/6|
|3rd - Akelia Donaldson -||2.5/6|
There was a lot of attention being paid to the under 16 section which was eventually won by St Jago High's Alistair Walker. Many of the juniors now playing in the high school tournament were showcased here.
While Walker claimed his under 16 title with a perfect score it was not a trouble-free journey, as promising female junior Rachel Miller from Campion College appeared set to upset in round three on Saturday evening after a gutsy and bold capture of a pawn on h7. (game position to be shown next week). But it was not to be as Walker held his nerve and seemed to magically escape and win what the Masters on hand calculated as a lost position. This win should place Walker within striking distance of achieving his National Master norm that would put him on track to gain a National Master title if he were to maintain consistency.
Miller went on to be crowned under 16 female champion and is making record setting tracks as she has held a number of the other age group female titles prior to this. Miller should be in action again in the under 14 section to be played later this month.
Other perfect score winners included Barrett in the under 12 and Walsh in the under 8.
In the final weekend of February the second leg of this tournament will see in action the under 10, under 14 and under 18. Many of the strong under 16 players will be expected to feature again as the quest is always to go after that prestige double of being the under 16 and under 18 champion in the same year. This has not been achieved in a while.
A chat with Krishna
ChessMate was able to catch up with Krishna Gray who recently won the all female Margaret Prince tournament held in Barbados recently.
Gray said she was "overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction," as this was her first time overseas representing Jamaica at a tournament that was non team.
Having won the tournament with 5.5 points, Gray credits her final game against Guadeloupe Female Champion Michelle Duboue as her best performance on that trip because it landed her victory.
And her worst game: "My game against Camille Sauveur (Martinique), it ended in a draw because I was feeling really ill."
She notes that Jamaican women have dominated regionally but laments that the general number of women playing chess is low. However, she says this is not unique to Jamaica, but is a global phenomenon.
Urban High School Chess Quarter-Finals: Friday, February 8, Kingston College Library, 3:30 p.m.
John Powell Memorial Open: February 9 and 10.
Urban High School Chess semi-finals: Saturday, February 16, Kingston College Library, 10 a.m.
Urban and Rural High School Chess Finals: February 18-22. Venue to be announced.
National Age Group Champion-ships February 23 and 24 (under 10, 14 and 18).
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.