Puerto Ricoâ€™s Fide Master Mark Machin Rivera and Jamaicaâ€™s Woman International Master Deborah Richards – Porterhave been crowned the victors after 9 grueling rounds of chess at the Divi Beach Resort here in Barbados, where the absolute and female categories of the regional sub zonal event was played.
In the Absolute category Rivera lived up to his top billing as the highest rated player in the tournament amassing 8 points from 9 games with 7 wins and 2 draws. His victims included the no 2 seed Christopher Guzman of Domincan Republic, Luis Salazar of Venezuela, Martyn Del Castilho and Terry Farley both from Barbados. He conceded the 2 draws to Kevin Cupid of Trinidad and Malaku Lorne of Jamaica.
In addition to his winnerâ€™s trophy and prize money, his title was upgraded to International Master which is just one notch behind the International bodyâ€™s highest title of Grand Master. He has also qualified for next yearâ€™s zonal which is the next stage towards the World Championship.
The second place went to Venezuelaâ€™s Luis German Salazar who scored 7 points and upgraded his title to Fide Master.
Jamaicaâ€™s Malaku Lorne had an outstanding tournament , also scoring 7 points but coming third on the tie break. Having entered the event as 18th ranked player out of 44, he proved to be the giant killer on the way to gaining his Fide Master title.
5 players were tied on 6 points, but Barbadian International Master Terry Farley and his team mate Fide Master Martyn Del Castilho were awarded the 4th and 5th places respectively based on the tie break system. Farley will join the top 3 at next yearâ€™s Zonal to fight for a qualifying spot in the World Chess Knockout Cup.
Del Castilho will have another to chance to fight for his title and a qualifying spot in the World Chess Knockout Cup, later this month when he competes in the Continental Championship in El Salvador.
Two other players Adrian Winter and Kevin Cupid, both of Trinidad and Tobago, also gained Fide Master titles. Ten other players in the Absolute section including 5 Barbadians, scored 4.5 points which qualifies them for the Fideâ€™s initial title of Candidate Master.
In the female section, Jamaicaâ€™s WIM Deborah Richards-Porter, the tournamentâ€™s no. 3 seed was totally dominant amassing 8.5 points. She conceded only one draw to the tournamentâ€™s no. 2 seed Puerto Ricoâ€™s Danitza Vasquez.
Arubaâ€™s Woman Fide Master Maria Diaz came 2nd with 6.5 points.
5 players were tied on 6 points but the tie break placed Danitza Vasquez of Puerto Rico in 3rd place and Venezuelaâ€™s Maria Varela La Madrid who also gained the Womenâ€™s Fide Master title in 4th place. The top 4 will play in the Zonal to fight for a qualifying spot in the Womenâ€™s World Chess Knockout Cup. 5th place went to Suirnameâ€™s Rosangela Dos Ramos who upgraded her title to Womenâ€™s Fide Master.
Barbadosâ€™ top female player in the event was Oâ€™shara Mason of Harrison College, formerly of The Lodge School who scored 4.5 points to qualify for the Womenâ€™s Candidate Master title. 4 other players also gained Womenâ€™s Candidate Master titles, Maria Varona-Thomas of Guyana, Polina Karelina of The Bahamas, Shemilah James of Trinidad and Tobago and Paula De Mey of Aruba.
The tournament held under the auspices of the BOA was deemed a success and demonstrated the federationâ€™s capacity to host international events. It also served as a practice event for the Olympiad teams who will participate in the World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan in September. The next event on the chess calendar is Karl Sealy Memorial which begins on Friday, May 13 at the Chess Centre with a 6:00 pm start.