Jamaica in medal hunt at 2019 Carifta Chess Championships


Jamaica in medal hunt at 2019 Carifta Chess Championships

Monday, April 22, 2019

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At the halfway point of the Eighth Annual Carifta Chess Championships, the Jamaicans are well poised to medal in five of the six official categories — every category in which the nation has a competitor.

After four rounds of the championships, top seed Jaden Shaw is unbeaten with four points in the Under-12 Open section, the largest section of the tournament with 64 players. Cameron Coe holds three points, having lost in Round Three to teammate Shaw.

In the Under-12 female section, Jamaicans hold the second, third and fourth positions in the current standings, with Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Zaina O'Connor, Laila Griffiths and Gabriella Watson all on three points apiece.

In the Under-16 Open section, last year's U12 Carifta Champion Darren McKennis is in second spot with 3.5 points and will face the top seed from Trinidad, FIDE Master Alan-Safar Ramoutar, in the fifth round. In the same section, Jamaicans Nicholas Lyn and John Stephenson, both on three points, will face each other in Round Five.

In the Under-16 female section, defending champion, WCM Adani Clarke is another unbeaten Jamaican on four points. Raehanna Brown, Jamaica's current Junior Female Champion, is on three points, having lost to teammate Clarke in Round Four, while Amy Stephenson is on two points.

In the Under-20 female section, Ashanti Blackwood has had a solid run so far and currently stands in second place with 3.5 points, while Alliyah Yankana is in fourth place on 2.5 points.

With Jamaica well positioned for podium finishes in each of these five categories, the spirit of the team is high going into Round Five, with the hope that Jamaica can solidify its position for the first-place country prize, in spite of being a relatively small team of 13 players.

The Eighth Annual Carifta Chess Championships is being staged in Curacao and ends tomorrow. The tournament is played over seven rounds, with over 170 players from 11 countries vying for individual category prizes, and the top five spots in each section contributing points to the overall country prize.

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