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Solid start from CARIFTA chess team


Solid start from CARIFTA chess team

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BARBADOS made a satisfying start Friday in their bid to secure a hat-trick of titles at the sixth CARIFTA Chess Championships in Jamaica.

Spearheaded by FIDE Masters Orlando Husbands and Yu Tien Poon, the two highest rated players in the tournament, the 13-member Bajan contingent secured eight victories in each of the first two rounds of matches at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

Husbands, seeking to win his third successive gold medal in the boys’ Under-20 division, had a first round victory over compatriot Emar Edwards, who is well known for his exploits in road tennis before defeating Candidate Master Jomar Benshop of Aruba in the second round.

Poon, who took silver behind Husbands last year, defeated Jamaicans Marlon Hutchinson and Jordan Williams in his first two games.

The Sandiford brothers, Kyle and Leigh, also won both of their matches on the opening day.

Kyle, competing in Under-16, won against Jamaicans Andrew Smart and Davielo Wright, while Leigh, seeking to regain the boys’ Under-12 gold medal he won on home soil in 2015, also defeated two local boys, Kemarco Lewis and Jemar Ferguson.

Vanessa Greenidge was the other Barbadian to score a double on the first day, winning both of her games in the girls’ Under-12 section.

Other Barbadians enjoyed mixed fortunes on the first day.

Edwards bounced back from defeat to Husbands to win his second round game, while Nitin Mahtani, who is also competing among the Under-20 boys, had a win and a loss.

Former national women’s champion, Gabriella Cumberbatch, vying for honours in the girls’ Under-20 division, lost to an unrated opponent in the first round but rebounded to defeat the highest rated player in the second round.

Pritika Kandamaran, who is competing in the girls’ Under-16 division, won her first game but had to settle for a draw in the second round while Shane Maughn (boys’ Under-16), Kiarra Eversley (girls’ Under-16), Azaria Johnson (girls’ Under-16) each had 1-1 records.

More than 200 players – the vast majority from hosts Jamaica – are competing in the championship that will be played over seven rounds. (HG)