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Smith Defends John Powell Open Title for 2018

Thursday, February 08, 2018

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Super National Master (SNM) Shreyas Smith continued his chess dominance in Jamaica after defending his Open section title recently at the 11th staging of the International Arbiter FIDE Master (IA FM) John Powell Memorial at Liberty Academy, after finishing undefeated on a superb five points from six games.

His only dent was a draw against Nathan Hinds in the final round, while his other half-point came as a result of him collecting his RJR/Gleaner Sports Foundation's Chess Player of the Year award which prevented him from playing that round.

With this title victory, Smith also passes the 2200 elo mark which only 12 known Jamaicans have surpassed in history. This is also the threshold required to apply to Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) for the Candidate Master (CM) title. This would make Jamaica the only English-speaking Caribbean country to have an all titled top 10 player list at the moment.

Second place was a tie among four players who all ended on 4.5 points from six games. After tiebreaks were employed, Malik Curriah and Nathan Hinds remained adjudged for second, Kevron Campbell was fourth and Michael Christie was fifth.

The top junior position was a tie between Curriah and Christie with the former placing first after both finished on the same score. National Master Akeem Brown was the third best junior with four points. Di-Jaun Smith recorded the best rank improvement after finishing 13th on 3.5 points from a starting rank of 42.

The best female was South African Women's International Master (WIM) Anzel Laubscher who defeated Women's National Champion Woman's Candidate Master (WCM) Annesha Smith, National Master (NM) Peter Myers and drew with NM Stuart James. WCM Smith and WCM Adani Clarke were second and third, respectively, in this category.

In keeping with the mandate of having more Jamaicans FIDE rated, the intermediate section has now become the Fide Under 1600 Section. This will allow players under the 1600 elo mark to participate in this section and give opportunity for more players to obtain a FIDE rating. As such, the time control has now become 55 minutes with five seconds after every move in keeping with the parameters for the section to be FIDE rated.

The top female and overall winner of this newly rated section was Ashanti Blackwood, who finished on a solid 5.5 points from six games. She started off with five blazing wins and drew her final game against her compatriot Nickaylah Curwin . Second place was a record tie among five players who all finished on five points. After tiebreaks were utilised, Arena Candidate Master (ACM) Kishan Clarke was second, Marlon Hutchinson was third, Andrew Smart was fourth, Darren Mckennis was fifth and Nickaylah Curwin finished sixth.

Nickaylah Curwin and Johmoi Blake (3.5 points) were the second and third best female, respectively. Dhaymar Wright also recorded the best rank improvement after finishing 17th on four points from a starting rank of 65.

The former amateur section has also been reclassified with it now becoming the JCF Under 1300 Rapid Section. Players who participate in this section will now receive a JCF rapid rating. As such, the time control has now become 20 minutes for each player.

Michael Graham was the overall winner with 5.5 points from six games. He recorded a similar start as the FIDE U-1600 winner by winning his first five games and drawing his final game with Joshua Ahjahorie. This also lead to a four-way tie among four players who finished on five points. After tiebreaks were employed, Daville Smith was second, Joshua Smikle was third and Joshua Ahjahorie was fourth. Joshua Smikle was also the best rank improvement after finishing third from a starting rank of 33.

The IA FM John Powell Memorial was the first Grand Prix event for 2018 staged by The Jamaica Chess Federation. The tournament, which was previously called the New Year's Open, was renamed in honour of International Arbiter and FIDE Master John Powell, a founding member of the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) and a former president, who passed away in October of 2007.

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