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Mixed results on chessboard

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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A grandmaster spoiled chances of Barbados winning their final match as the curtain fell at the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, recently.
Andorra’s Oscar De la Riva Aguado’s win against national champion, FIDE Master Martyn Del Castilho proved decisive as international masters Kevin Denny and Terry Farley, and FIDE Master Delisle Warner drew their games against FIDE Masters Marc Simonet and Raul Garcia, and Daniel Jose Queralto.
The 2½ – 1½ lost to Andorra left Barbados on nine match points and the disappointing final position of 110th from a field of 150 teams. Farley, on Board 3, was the top performer with five points from nine matches and the best performance rating of 2138.
Jamaica were the pick of the English-speaking Caribbean men teams drawing their final match 2-2 against Sri Lanka to end on ten match points and 95th overall. Trinidad & Tobago beat Malawi 3-1 to jump ahead of Barbados to position 105 with ten match points.
For the Caribbean, powerhouse Cuba narrowly missed making the top ten placing 11th with 15 match points. The next highest Caribbean team was Puerto Rico who placed 67th with 12 match points followed by Dominican Republic, also on 12 match points.
The Bajan women ended in fine style with a 4-0 drubbing of Afghanistan.
Winning for Barbados were national women’s champion and CARIFTA Under-20 gold medallist Katrina Blackman on Board 1, woman candidate Master Sheena Ramsay on Board 2, Donna Forde on Board 3 and 14-year-old Lodge School student O’shara Mason on Board 4.
It was a case of too little too late, as Barbados could only muster six match points to end 117th out of 127 teams.
Blackman was the outstanding performer for the team, scoring 5½ points from nine matches to have the best performance rating of 1638. Unfortunately, by half a point, she missed the qualification standard that would have made her Barbados’ first Woman FIDE Master (WFM) and the second in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Jamaica were the highest placed women’s team from the English-speaking Caribbean, placing 97th with nine match points, while Trinidad & Tobago were two places below Barbados in 119th place.
Cuba drew 2-2 with Colombia to end 19th with 14 match points; the Dominican Republic were 77th with ten match points and nine match points placed Puerto Rico 94th overall.
Meanwhile, Armenia and Russia were crowned the new men and women’s champions, respectively.
For the Armenians, it took a final round 3-1 win by Ukraine over leaders China to give them the title. This, however, was not without Armenia scoring an exciting 2½ – 1½ victory over Hungary to top the standings with 19 match points. Russia, who also ended on 19 match points, had to settle for second position due to the weaker tie-break while Ukraine were third on 18 match points.
Russia’s 4-0 blitz of Kazakhstan proved critical in giving them the better tie-break score to edge China for the top spot with 19 points. China’s 2½ – 1½ victory over Bulgaria was sufficient to ensure second place while Ukraine’s 3½ – ½ win over Germany secured third. (PR/SAT)