After two rounds of the 2014 Karl Sealy Memorial Chess Tournament, only two players maintain a perfect score in what is turning out to be a very keen and competitive affair.
With some noteworthy upsets so far, top junior Yu Tien Poon and national player Katrina Blackman have two points after two games of the five round tournament have been played. In round two, Poon crushed Andrea Janoha in a tactical melee, while Blackman created a massive upset, when she defeated newly minted international master Delisle Warner, a player rated much higher than her.
In a game where it was evenly balanced, Warner sacrificed the exchange in the hopes of creating a pass pawn to queen, but Blackman held her nerve, played accurately and recorded a memorable victory. This would be the first time that any Bajan female player would have defeated an international master, and for Warner this was his first official tournament with his new master title which he picked up after finishing third at the 2014 Sub-zonal Tournament earlier this year in Trinidad. Blackman has been receiving online training from the world chess governing body’s Women In Chess Commission Coaching Programme and with this result, it shows she is benefitting from that exposure to high level training.
Lying in second position on one and a half points are Roberto Castillo of Cuba, Michael Barker and Luke Cardoza. In round two Castillo defeated Donna Murray, while Barker and Cardoza battled to a tame draw.
Other results in the round included victory for Othneil Harewood over Mark Lowe. This was some redemption for Harewood who had stumbled in round one, falling to the much lower rated Donna Murray.
Sheena Ramsay defeated Lydia Nurse, Jonathan Shepherd won from Nellon Collymore, while veteran Neil Yarde, returning after a long lay-off, drew against Cody Jack-Sargeant in an exciting game which saw winning chances for both players.
The next round will see a top of the table clash between the leaders, as Blackman has the white pieces against Poon.
In overseas action, Barbados is being represented by two players at the 2014 Pan American Youth Championships being played in Oaxtapec, Mexico. These are national champion Orlando Husbands and 2013 Pan Am scholastics champion Allon Richards.
After four rounds in the Under-18 section, Husbands has three points and sits in 11th position from a tough field of 55 players from the Americas. In the last round he defeated Luis Rodriguez of Mexico. His only lost has been in round 3 to the top rated Diego Cuellar of Bolivia.
With five more games, Husbands will be looking to finish strong and try to reach medal contention.
In the Under-16 section, Richards has found the going a little tougher and has accumulated one and a half points from four. In his last game, he lost to Carlos David of Ecuador. He will need to put in a much stronger performance to lift his final placing in the 73 player field.