Shreyas Smith is Robert Wheeler Open chess champion

Saturday, May 26, 2018

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The 2018 Robert Wheeler Open chess tournament concluded last weekend with newly titled FIDE Candidate Master (CM) Shreyas Smith winning the championship trophy, in his second open tournament win for the year.

In 2017 CM Smith dominated the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) Grand Prix circuit, and with this win he puts himself in pole position for the 2018 series.

Smith won the FIDE Open section with a round to spare, given that going into the last round he was on a solid 5/5 points, while second place was a tie among a slew of players on 3.5 points.

In the final round, Smith fell into a losing position against National Master (NM) Stuart James in a game which lasted over four hours. In the end, CM Smith managed to finish undefeated on 5.5 points from six games.

When asked how he feels about this win leading into the sub-zonals, a World Championship qualifier which Jamaica will host next month, Smith was cautious in his response.

“ I am just trying my best right now to 'catch form', so I need as much playing practice as possible, and playing in this tournament was geared towards that. I am very happy that I won, but of course there is still a lot more work to be done if I am to reach the level I need to perform well at the sub-zonals,” he said.

Second place was a tie among 4 players who all ended on 4.5 points. After tiebreaks were employed, Trinidadian FIDE Master (FM) Marcus Joseph placed second, FM Malaku Lorne third, NM Paul Brooks fourth, and FM Joshua Christie fifth.

It was a remarkable event for FM Joseph in that he produced one of the shortest and most decisive victories of the tournament against FM Lorne in 22 moves, and the longest game of the tournament against De Mario Nash in a game that lasted over five hours with 164 moves.

The Best Female prize went to Woman's Candidate Master (WCM) Adani Clarke who, at just 14 years of age, finished on 3.5 points ahead of the reigning national female champion Krishna Gray and WCM Margoe Williams, who were second and third, respectively, in this category, scoring three points each.

In the FIDE Under-1600 Rating section, fourth seed Shaheem Richards finished on a superb 5.5 points from six games to claim the first-place trophy and prize winnings. He had to fight to survive his final-round encounter where his opponent made a slight miscalculation that saved him from sure defeat in a losing position.

Second place was a tie among four players who all ended on five points and received recognition and prize winnings. After tie-breaks were used, Davielo Wright placed second, Orion Isaacs third, Kyle Pratt fourth, and David Rose fifth.

The Best Female prize went to 11-year old Arielle McKoy, who edged ahead of Leah-Ann Chai after tie-breaks were applied since both players finished on four points. Gabriella Watson was the third-best female, after finishing on 2.5 points.

In the JCF-rated Under-1300 section, Deshawn Foster reigned supreme as he ended his final tournament as a Jamaica College student by finishing on a perfect score of six points. He won his final game against Joshua Ahjahorie who was also on five points in a top-of-the-table clash. Second place was a tie among four players who all finished on five points. After tie-breaks were employed, Kennedy Davidson placed second, Israel Isaacs third, Remari Green fourth, and Joshua Ahjahorie fifth.

The Best Female prize went to Topaz Parchment-Grant, while Teriesha-Lee Thompson and Raeann Atkinson were second and third, respectively, on tie-breaks after all three players finished on four points each. Fourth and fifth place went to Dedipya Sunkara and Kaia Gayle, who finished on three and 2.5 points, respectively.

JCF President Ian Wilkinson was elated with the participation growth at the tournaments, along with the strength of the players participating.

“Young players in the 80's would have found it quite difficult to have matched or played against the masters in our times. Now, you have 12-year-olds beating NM's in the Open section and producing spectacular results,” he said.

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