Jamaica's Junior Chess Knights, Queens heading for battle in Chile

Monday, July 16, 2018

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Jamaica's junior Chess team of Reggae Knights and Queens go in search of glory in Santiago, Chile, as they participate in the 2018 Pan American Youth Chess Festival from July 21 to July 29, 2018.

The largest Jamaican team to participate yet in the Pan Ams — 24 players — will compete in a gruelling nine rounds in Absolute and Female categories, from Under-8 to Under-18.

The Junior Chess Reggae Knights will be led by National Junior champions in each Absolute Age Group Category — FM Joshua Christie, U-18, Lontae Walker; U16, Nicholas Lyn, U-14, Darren McKennis, U-12; Corbin Harvey, U-10; and Cameron Coe, U-8, and completed by Malik Gayle and Nikit Gupte in U-18, Ronaldo Thompson in U0-14, Addison Abrahams, Jaden Shaw, John Stephenson, and Mikhail Bond in U-12, and Aaron McKoy and Joshua Smikle in U-8.

The Junior Chess Reggae Queens will be led by National Junior Champions in each Female Age Group Category — CM Rachel Miller, U-18; WCM Adani Clarke, U-16; Raehanna Brown, U-14, Amy Stephenson, U-12; WCM Zaina O'Connor, U-10, and Najean Brown, U-8, completed by Arielle McKoy, Gabriella Watson, and Laila Griffiths in the U-12.

In a recent training session for the team, head of delegation National Master (NM) Mikhail Solomon, who is also head of Junior Chess with the Jamaica Chess Federation, emphasised that chess within the Pan American region is very strong, especially in South America.

“This tournament will provide a difficult test for our Jamaican players,” he said. In fact, he stated that, “No Jamaican has ever medalled (or placed in the top three) in any age group category of this particular tournament — such is the competitiveness of the chess at the Pan Am's.”

He remains confident, however, that this will be a breakthrough year and also hopes Jamaica will finish in the top five teams section. “We have a very strong team in place. For the first time we have representation in every category being contested, and we have some of the strongest Jamaican players and all the National age group champions making up this team.”

He went on to say, “We also, thankfully, have the support of two additional coaches, as round by round support of the players is a very important component of success at these tournaments.”

NM Solomon will be ably assisted by FIDE Master Warren Elliott and NM Russell Porter regarding coaching duties while in Chile.

NM Solomon thanked the Jamaica Chess Federation, the Jamaica Olympic Association, the Sports Development Foundation, and parents for making participation in the 2018 Pan American Youth Chess Festival possible.

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