Jamaica wins Carifta Chess Championships

Alauni Kidd

Jamaica are the 2017 champions of Carifta chess after seven rounds of play in the Championships which were held in the island recently.

Jamaica last won the tournament in 2013, when the event was first staged in Jamaica.

In the Under 12 (Absolute) Category, the number one seed Jamaica’s Candidate Master (CM) David Thomas took the Under 12 title, after defeating fellow Jamaican Coy Wilson in the final round to top the standings with 6.5 points from seven games.

CM Leigh Sandiford of Barbados got the better of Jamaica’s Darren McKennis to take second place in the Under 12 Category on a tiebreaker over Jamaica’s Nathan Walsh, as both players ended on six points from their seven games. Walsh secured his six points with a final round win over compatriot Mikhail Bond.

In the Under 12 Girls Category, Jamaica’s Johmoi Blake was declared the champion on tiebreak over Vanessa Greenidge of Barbados, after both players ended tied on 6 points. Third place went to Trinidad and Tobago’s Zara La Fleur who ended on 5.5 points.

Jamaica’s Joshua Christie had to settle for silver in the Under 16 (Absolute) Category after losing to the defending champion, Alan-Safar Ramoutar of Trinidad and Tobago in round 6. At the end of round 7, both players were tied on 6 points, however Ramoutar was declared the Champion on tiebreak, having defeated Christie in their head-to-head battle. Third place was copped by Jamaica’s Jhustice-Dimonte McDonald who secured 5.5 points from his seven games.

In the Under 16 Girls Category, Jamaica’s Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Adani Clarke came out tops after defeating Pritika Kandamaran of Barbado.

Despite suffering two defeats on day three of the Championships, top seed Taqesyah Marcos of Curacao rallied on the final day to secure two wins and second place behind Clarke. Third place was shared by Jamaicans Ashanti Blackwood and Aulani Kidd, who each ended on 4.5 points.

In the Under 20 Girls Category, top seed Sheanel Gardener of Jamaica recovered from a poor start to take the overall title with 5.5 points, after securing back-to-back victories against Tian Henry and Deidre-Ann Johnson in her two final games. Second place went to another Jamaican Akelia Donaldson on tiebreak over Nickaylah Curwin and Gabriela Cumberbatch of Barbados, after the three players ended tied on 4.5 points each.

Despite good showings from Jamaica’s top Under 20 players, the coveted Under 20 (Absolute) Category was won for the third year in a row by Barbadian FIDE Master Orlando Husbands, who ended on 6.5 points from seven games. Second place went to the number two seed Barbadian FIDE Master Yu Tien Poon who was also unbeaten with 6 points. Third place was shared by Jamaica’s Malik Curriah and Aruba’s Jomar Benschop after each player ended on five points.

The next CARIFTA Chess Championships are scheduled to take place next year in Suriname