C'Bar, St Jago to contest All-Island chess final
LISA Hanna, Minister of youth and culture, calmly made the symbolic first move in the Magnificent High School Chess Championships in what turned out to be a thrilling affair.
St Jago High topped defending champions Glenmuir High to win the rural section, and Calabar High got their first hold of the corporate title with victory over Ardenne High at the Ministry of Youth and Culture's building.
The corporate area final was tied 2-2 after victories from Shreyas Smith and Oshane Francis for Calabar, and victories from Horace Sinclair and Damani Reid for Ardenne.
This forced a speed chess play-off between the top players of each school to decide the tiebreak. In the best-of-four blitz chess, Shreyas Smith won 3-0 against Horace Sinclair.
The rural finals saw St Jago High scoring a surprise 4-0 victory over Glenmuir High. The match was closely contested but St Jago outlasted their counterparts as the games went down to the wire. Winning for St Jago were Alistair Walker, Roderick Clifford, Michael Christie and Akeem Brown.
The all-island final is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, where rural champions St Jago High will battle corporate champions Calabar High for high school supremacy.
Calabar's coach Russel Porter explained that he started with the team late at the quarter-final stage when they upset Campion College.
According to him, they have surpassed their expectations given their inexperience and see no reason, having reached this far, that they cannot win the final. He entrusts the Calabar fighting spirit and predicts a close match with either a 2-2 scoreline and a play-off win for Calabar, or a 2.5-1.5 scoreline.
On the other hand, St Jago's coach Mikhail Solomon said: "With strong and accurate preparation, the match will be very interesting. We plan to bring an effective challenge to the corporate champions."
He declined to give any match predictions but argued that he is not underestimating his opponents.
Sponsors of the National High School Chess Championships include Magnificent Chess Foundation, Burger King and the Ministry of Youth and Culture.