Sports

Markland Douglas takes lead in Jamaica Seniors/Veterans Chess Championships

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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After two rounds of the 2017 Jamaica Seniors/Veterans Chess Championships (William Roper Memorial) played at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Markland Douglas has taken the early lead with two wins, defeating Eton Chin and Terence Lindo.

Tied for second, each on 1 1/2 points, are the overwhelming rating favourite FM Shane Matthews (seven-time Jamaica champion); IA CM Robert Wheeler (the 66-year-old, six-time Jamaica champion and two-time defending Jamaica Seniors champion); and Ian Wilkinson, the two-time defending Jamaica Veterans champion.

The standings for the rest of the nine-man field are Michael Diedrick on one point; Terence Lindo (one half point - after drawing with Wheeler in the first round); NM Geoffrey Byfield, Chin, and Frederick Cameron (a founding father and former president of the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) - now 77 years old) who are all yet to score.

In several key match-ups, Wilkinson and Matthews clashed in the first round and played to a bruising 48-move draw in a Bishop's opening, the “Magician” Matthews wielding the white pieces and eventually forcing perpetual check.

Matthews notched his first win with a clinical outing with the black pieces against Byfield, whose London System set-up did not survive Matthews's King's Indian Defence. In a pivotal second-round game between the two men fighting for the seniors crown, Wheeler defeated Cameron in 52 moves (a Reti/English Opening).

The following third-round games were scheduled for the same venue yesterday: Chin vs Byfield, Lindo vs Wilkinson, Cameron vs Douglas and Diedrick vs Wheeler. Matthews had a bye. The players with the white pieces are named first.

The tournament is named in honour of William Roper, one of the founding fathers of the JCF and its first secretary when it was formed in 1969. An attorney-at-law, he was also a former principal of the Norman Manley Law School and died at 83 years old on July 19, 2014.

It is a round robin over nine rounds at a time control of game in 90 minutes, with increments of 30 seconds per move from the first move. It runs from August 5 to 20 with all nine rounds to be played at the JOA.

The winners of the respective sections will be Jamaica's official representatives at the World Senior Chess Championships in Acqui Terme, Italy, in November, 2017.

The event is sponsored by the Sports Development Foundation, the Kasparov Chess Foundation, the JOA and the JCF.

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