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Jamaicans enter final round of CAC Chess hunting for medals

Published:Tuesday | August 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Joshua Christie
Adani Clarke

Jamaica's youth chess team ended the penultimate round of the nine-round Central American and Caribbean Youth Chess Championships last night with firm chances of winning at least two medals.

The competition is taking place in Panama where teams from several Central America and Caribbean countries, including Colombia and Venezuela, have devoted the last week of intense rivalry in search of chess glory.

After eight gruelling rounds, with matches lasting four hours and more, the Jamaican team stands in a good position to earn a coveted team medal. 

Several Jamaicans have a strong chance of finishing in the top five of their sections should they win the final challenging round. Placing in the top five of each section contributes to the team tally.

National Under-16 champion Joshua Christie has a silver medal secured if he wins his last round against Puerto Rico's Christian Marina. Christie defeated more highly-favoured FM David Munoz of Colombia, who has a 2182 FIDE rating. Preliminary calculations suggest that the St Jago schoolboy, Christie, has also crossed the critical 2000 FIDE rating threshold towards National Master Chess status.

In the Under-14 female section, WCM Adani Clarke has medal chances within her control. Irrespective of the outcome of other games, she stands on the podium tomorrow if she wins  today against Cuba's WCM Olivia Perez.

In the Under-12 female section, national champion Raehanna Brown stands to seal a top-five finish if she beats her Aruban rival and could medal should her compatriot Carifta Champion Johmoi Blake defeat WCM Isabella Lopez of Colombia.

CM Leighton Barrett in the Under-14 Absolute section faces a challenging task of unseating his 400 point higher rated Cuban opponent for a top five place and potential medal spot. His  compatriot Lontae Walker, has a similar daunting task against another Cuban who is 500 rated points ahead. 

Other Jamaicans with a chance of medalling are national champions Cameron Coe and Zaina O’Connor in the Under 8 male and female sections; national champion Kishan Clarke in the Under-10 Absolute section; Gabriella Watson, in the female Under-10; David Thomas in the  Under-12 Absolute section, and Rachel Miller in the Under-18 female section.

The tournament runs from August 9 to August 16 in Panama