Nathan Hinds wins President's Invitational Chess Tourney

BY DAVID ROSE

Saturday, June 08, 2019

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University of Technology student Nathan Hinds had an exhilarating finale as he claimed first place at the President's Invitational held recently at the Jamaica Olympic Association.

Hinds, who has had a phenomenal year so far, inched closer to achieving the illustrious National Master (NM) title. This came as a result of his recent performances in the Fesco Manchester Open, IA CM Robert Wheeler Open, and the now concluded President's tournaments.

The title still has to be ratified by the Jamaica Chess Federation's (JCF) Council, but there is no doubt Hinds will receive the title. “The NM title has always been a key goal for me. I am elated and proud of my achievements so far, and look forward to achieving higher goals I have set for the year,” Hinds said.

Hinds' final game against Douglas Markland saw an equal position that was balanced all the way into the endgame. With the tournament secure, Hinds drew his final game to finish on seven points from nine games, while Douglas Markland finished in eighth place on 2.5 points.

“It was a spectacular feeling to win such a prestigious tournament. Playing against veterans such as International Master (IM) Shane Matthews and Michael Diedrick and other strong players such as FIDE Master (FM) Shreyas Smith and Fide Candidate Master (FCM) Malik Curriah, was both humbling and satisfying.”

As long as Hinds maintains the momentum he started the year with, he should qualify for his FCM title once his international rating surpasses the 2000 mark.

Second place was a three-way tie among IM Matthews, FM Smith, and FCM Curriah who all finished on 6.5 points each. FM Smith had the opportunity to claim first place if he had won his final game against IM Matthews. However, IM Matthews maintained his composure as he played with precision throughout the complicated game.

Despite being down a piece, FM Smith tried some last-minute tricks to secure a draw, but his numerous sacrifices failed and weren't enough to stop the “Magician”, as he set himself up for an inevitable checkmate. FCM Curriah also won his final game against FCM Andrew Mellace in a lenghty endgame where he was up a piece. FCM Mellace finished in fifth place on six points.

NM Blackwood secured a sixth-place finish on 4.5 points with his final round victory against Michael Diedrick. NM Blackwood's tournament saw him secure draws against Hinds and IM Matthews, while Diedrick struggled as he finished in last on a half point.

Incumbent JCF President Ian Wilkinson had a rousing game against Raehanna Brown in his final President's Invitational as the sitting JCF head. Even though the event was far from perfect for Wilkinson, who finished on two points, it was an entertaining event for him, as he got to play the national champions and enjoyed thrilling games against them in his final event.

It was also a memorable event for Brown, who delivered the only loss to IM Matthews in the tournament and finished in seventh place on three points.

The tournament was made possible thanks to the support of the Jamaica Olympic Association and Eden Garden Wellness Resort & Spa.


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