It has been a busy week for Bajan chess players as they pushed pawns locally, in North America and as far as Europe with some degree of success.
Firstly, Renaldo Rochester after a long layoff returned to capture the Paul King Memorial tournament in dramatic fashion The tournament was only decided in the last round when Rochester defeated veteran Othneil Harewood to climb to 6 ½ points from 7 games and finish a half point ahead of Harewood who had won all his games up until then.
Cyprian La Touche finished with a last round win to reach third on 5 ½ points having only lost to Harewood and drawn with the eventual winner Rochester. The last round also saw victories for other players Eden Gibson and Tarquin Clark.
With Rochester returning to the board and showing such prowess, his progress will be closely monitored as in his junior days, he was a contemporary of the likes of current national senior players like international master Orlando Husbands, Justin Parsons and Emar Edwards.
And speaking of the latter two, Parsons and Edwards spent the Martin Luther King bank holiday weekend participating in the Liberty Bell Open in Philadelphia, U.S.A. Both players participated in the Under 2100 rating section of the event and both players finished on 5 points from 7 games to finish 12th, Parsons and 14th for Edwards, just ½ point outside the prizes in the hundred player field.
Parsons was steady throughout the event only losing in round three and six and winning his other games. His last round win against Shelly Mays of the United States who was the top-rated player in the event was his best result.
Edwards on the other hand, started slowly, having only two points from his first four games, but finished strong to win his last three matches to reach 5 points as well. In the last round Edwards defeated Robert J Fischer, a player having the same name of the famous past American world chess champion. He can now clearly state that he is the only Barbadian player who has defeated “Robert Fischer”.
While across the Atlantic in Spain, another senior national player Fide master Justin Blackman was also flying the Bajan flag proudly.
Blackman took part in a team event, the Barcelona Catalan Cup – Beatriz Alfonso memorial in Barcelona. Blackman played for the Agusti A1 team which finished 4th out of 148 teams in the rapid event with 25 points.
A team had a minimum of 4 players in the 9-round event, with players from all over the world participating and at all levels from amateurs to grandmaster. Blackman contributed heavily to his team scoring, racking up 6 ½ points from his 9 games. His best results were a draw against international master Lazaro Lorenzo De La Riva of Spain and defeating Fide master Albareda Xavier Duran, players rated higher than him.
Blackmans team consisted of David Ayzo and Josue Exposito, both from Spain and Mohammed Zohaib from Pakistan. The overall winners were Colon Sabadell Chessy A team led by grandmaster and prolific chess author Victor Moskalenko with 28 ½ points.
This weekend will again see Barbados chess players battling against stiff regional competition as separate open and female two member teams attempt to qualify for the 2023 C.A.C games where chess will be an event for the first time in the game’s history.
The qualifying event will be played in hybrid format, that is via the internet under the supervision of a chess referee form one location.
The Open team will consist of top local players international master Orlando Husbands and Fide master Martyn del Castilho, while the female team will consist of woman candidate master Julissa Figueroa and top junior female player Hannah Wilson.
In the open section, the top 15 teams will qualify from the event for the finals in El Salvador. (KD/PR)