Barbados lost their first ever men’s team match to Jamaica at a World Chess Olympiad when their northern neighbours beat the team of national champion FIDE master Martyn Del Castilho, international masters Kevin Denny and Terry Farley, and FIDE master Delisle Warner 2 ? to 1 ? in Round 5 of the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey over the weekend.
On paper with a higher rated team and the previous two encounters at Thessaloniki in 1988 and Bled in 2002 ending as 2-2 ties, Barbados’ hopes of Istanbul 2012 being the year they got the upper hand over Jamaica took an early blow when Farley blundered a piece on board 3 against candidate master Duane Rowe to give the Jamaicans a 1-0 lead.
Denny steadied the ship for the Bajans with a critical win on board 2 against long-time rival international master Jomo Pitterson. This swung the momentum of the match back in Barbados’s direction as Del Castilho, having sacrificed the exchange, was pressing FIDE master Warren Elliot hard on board 1 and Warner, in a better but closed position, was increasing the pressure on board 4 for Damion Davy.
Sadly, fate took a cruel twist when Warner opened the king-side to attack his opponent only to find the tables turned and his, not the Jamaican’s King, under a lethal attack. Davy grabbed the opportunity and put Jamaica back in the lead with 2-1 margin.
On board 1, Elliot safely navigated the challenges Del Castilho threw his way, and what followed was a marathon 121 move, six hour game which tested both players’ Rook versus Bishop end game technique. For the Bajans it was nothing short of torture as it was now clear that the match could not be saved and the best Del Castilho could achieve was a draw, which was the final outcome.
Cuba began their recovery from the defeats of the last two rounds with a 4-0 win over Venezuela. Haiti posted a big margin 3 ? – ? win over Sierra Leone while Aruba beat Fiji 2 ? – 1 ?. Bermuda and Curacao each drew 2-2 with Togo and Mozambique.
Trinidad & Tobago suffered a 4-0 loss to Denmark and Suriname a 3-1 loss to Malaysia. Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and US Virgin Island all fell 2 ? – 1 ? to Algeria, Scotland and Palau.
For the third match in succession, the Barbados women’s team was left pondering what could have been as they missed the opportunity to win their first match for these championships. Playing Kenya, it was national champion and CARIFTA girls Under-20