Claire Clarke, Contributor
Volume 2, No. 12
Urban and Rural chess championships hit their climax last weekend and when all was done, the results signalled that there will be new all-island high school chess champions this year.
Defending rural and all-island champions St Jago High lost both titles as they went down to Glenmuir High in a battle royal. However, Campion College comfortably defended their urban title and will again go after the all-island chess title after beating Camperdown in their final encounter.
Tournament arbiter, National Master Malaku Lorne, gave Chess Mate his interpretation of the games which were played at Campion College last Saturday.
In the urban finals, NM Lorne said: "The scoreline correctly reflected the difference in class between the two teams."
Campion trounced Camperdown 3.5 to 0.5 in quick order. Campion's coach NM Ryan Blackwood was nearly spot on with his 3-1 prediction last week.
The high drama was in the rural games. NM Lorne remarked: "It lived up to expectations, being a very closely fought match." Last week, coaches for the Glenmuir and St Jago teams (FM Warren Elliott and NM Mikhail Solomon) both called a 2.5-1.5 scoreline and were cautiously optimistic in their analysis. But as it turned out, they were both wrong.
Unable to call rural winner
NM Lorne said that while the outcome in the urban finals was what he had expected, he had never been able to call a winner of the rural finals before that match and he was eager to see what was really going to happen on the day.
At the end of play on the four boards, the score was locked 2-2."Even the last two games went down to blitz," said NM Lorne.
This scoreline forced the rural title match into the dreaded, yet ultimately exciting, blitz play-off which starts off with a set of four five-minute games as the decider."The blitz play-off was closely fought. St Jago won the first, Glenmuir won the second," NM Lorne said. The players contesting the blitz play-off for the teams were Alistair Walker of St Jago and Andrew Ellis of Glenmuir.
All four games had to be played to decide the winner, but from NM Lorne's view, it was the third game that set up the ultimate decider.
"At the start of the third game, Ellis' hands were shaking like crazy," said NM Lorne. Walker went a piece up in the game and appeared to be on track to win, but blundered away his queen, losing the game. NM Lorne believes that going into that fourth final game, Walker never recovered psychologically from his third-game defeat and lost
Final score in the blitz play-off Glenmuir 3, St Jago 1.
This now sets up a matchup for the all-island title between Glenmuir High and Campion College which will be played next week Saturday. Asked for predictions in this battle NM Lorne said: "Wow! I can't call it."
All-Island Chess Finals: March 16 at Campion College
National Junior tournament (date and venue to be announced)
Carifta Championship: April 4-8, 2013, Kingston Jamaica
Claire Clarke is a former Women's National Champion, three-time Jamaica Women's team Chess Olympiad representative, trained journalist and editor. Email feedback, send in your games or upcoming tournaments to email@example.com and join the facebook page chessmate.