Led by a devastating clean sweep of the medals in the Boys Under-20, Barbados created CARIFTA Chess history today by being the first country to successfully win back-to-back tournaments as the curtain fell in St Croix for the 5th CARIFTA Chess Championships.
The trio of FIDE Master Orlando Husbands, FIDE Master Yu Tien Poon and Brian Prescod swept the Under-20 Boys category with a championship first, taking gold, silver and bronze respectively.
Husbands, a student at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and the defending CARIFTA Under-20 champion, not only took the Under-20 gold but did so in flawless fashion winning all seven of his matches to be the only competitor with a perfect score.
Female candidate Master Lydia Nurse, also a UWI student, narrowly missed the medal cut by a half point in the Girls Under-20.
Taking gold was female candidate Master Annelaine Jacobs of Aruba, followed by USVI’s Hazel Acosta with silver and female candidate Master Anviti Adhin of Suriname with bronze.
In the Under-16 Boys, Nitin Mahtani of Harrison College brought home the silver for Barbados after a nail-biter of a finish which saw compatriot Shane Maughan, who went into the final round in second position, fall to candidate Master Brian Diaz of Aruba, a former CARIFTA Under-12 champion.
While Mahtani and Diaz ended tied on five points, one point behind the gold medallist Alan-Safar Ramoutar of Trinidad & Tobago, Mahtani took the silver by virtue of his fourth round win over Diaz.
Maughan ended fourth in the Boys Under- 16 category, a considerable improvement on his 2015 21st placing in the category.
In the Under-16 Girls, Segan Sandiford of Queen’s College, brought home the bronze for Barbados behind a pedigree pair of gold medallist and defending Under-16 champion Catherine Kaslan of Suriname and silver medallist Adani Clarke of Jamaica, a former double CARIFTA Under-12 gold medallist.
Kiarra Eversley, Barbados’ other Under-16 entry, finished fourth.
For the Under-12s, Barbados saw a new chess queen emerge from the pack when Azaria Johnson of Charles F Broome took the Girls Under-12 gold in the closest of CARIFTA finishes.
Amazingly, Johnson found herself going into the final game on a five-way tie for the gold with Nashani Clarke of Jamaica, Aaliah Heart of USVI, Thamara Sagastegui of Aruba and Anahita Ramoutar of Trinidad & Tobago.
In the battle of nerves that followed, Clarke, Sagastegui and Ramoutar drew their games creating the space for Johnson to take outright gold by beating Heart. Silver went to Jamaica’s Clarke and bronze to Sagastegui of Aruba.
Boys Under-12 was the main heartbreak for Barbados in the championships, with defending Under-12 CARIFTA champion Leigh Sandiford falling short of the medals, ending in fifth place.
Nathan Smith of the Bahamas, a former CAC Under-10 champion, took gold, followed by Imaan Kalidjo of Suriname with sliver and Ethan Croeze of Aruba taking bronze. Yeshua Hill, Barbados’ other entry in Under-12 Boys, finished eighth, an improvement on his 2015 14th place finish.
The victorious Barbados CARIFTA chess team returns home tomorrow.