St Jago dominate All-Island Chess Championships

St Jago dominate All-Island Chess Championships

Monday, March 09, 2020

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St Jago High School's 'A' team reigned supreme in the 44th edition of the All-Island Chess Championships, winning their seventh-consecutive title last week at Glenmuir High School in May Pen, Clarendon.

In what was expected to be a difficult year for the star-studded team, they delivered an astonishing performance to win five consecutive matches before drawing their final match against McGrath High School's A team to finish on 11 match points (MP). With this victory, the all-island chess title has remained with rural teams since 2012, with Campion College being the last urban team to hold the title.

The championship team consisted of players from board one to six, which included FIDE Master (FM) Joshua Christie, Candidate Master (CM) Akeem Brown, Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Adani Clarke, Jaleel Thorpe, Tajae Morgan, and Craig Miller.

This tournament also saw history being made, with CM Brown becoming the first player to have played on every winning team from first form all the way to upper sixth form. FM Christie has also played on six of the winning teams, with WCM Clarke being the only female player to be on a winning all-island and all-girls chess team.

Second place went to perennial rivals St Catherine High School A on 10 MP for the fourth year in a row. The team, which came second with only three players in the 2018 edition and nearly won the title in the 2019 play-offs were without former star player FM Raheem Glaves, who transferred to the Jamaica College 'A' team at the end of the last season. Without FM Glaves, the team lost their round-four encounter with St Jago High 3-1 after drawing their prior matches for the last four years.

Third place went to Ardenne High School's A team on nine MP, while McGrath High School A, Campion College A and Calabar High School's A teams tied in fourth place on eight MP each.

St Jago High School coach, National Master (NM) Mikhail Solomon, who has coached eight of St Jago High School's winning teams in the last decade, was quite proud of his side's accomplishment. “Ten years ago when we started the programme at St Jago, our vision was to create a dynasty of elite players — thereby creating a chess culture and a legacy. Seven consecutive wins have cemented the fact that faith mingled with vision and hard work is a recipe for success. I am beyond excited about what these players have achieved. I look forward with great enthusiasm for new milestones to be created in the future.”

The remaining prizes in the tournament included:

Best Board 1 – FM Joshua Christie (5.5/6), St Jago High School A

Best Board 2 – CM Akeem Brown (5.5/6), St Jago High School A

Best Board 3 – Shaheem Richards (4.5/6), St Catherine High School A

Best Board 4 – John Stephenson (6/6), Wolmer's Boys' School A

Best Reserve Player – Romaine Walters (4/4) St Catherine High School A

Best Urban Team - Ardenne High School A

Best Rural Team – St Jago High School A

Best Coach – NM Mikhail Solomon

— David Rose


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