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Perfect score for Mahtani

HAYDN GILL, [email protected]

Perfect score for Mahtani

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After missing out on the national Under-18 title chess on a tie-breaker, Nitin Mahtani ensured it didn’t happen again by romping to the Under-20 crown with a perfect record.

The Harrison College schoolboy secured the title with six successive victories to earn maximum points when the three-day championships concluded at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, last Friday.

Schoolmate Gaybrianna Moore emerged the inaugural girls’ Under-20 champion, following a decision by the Barbados Chess Federation (BCF) to introduce female titles in the junior age-group championships for the first time.

When the Under-18 championships were played last month, Mahtani just missed out to Kyle Sandiford after both players registered five wins and drew against each other.

Mahtani didn’t leave it to chance this time around, defeating each of his opponents – Moore, Pritika Kandamaran, Emar Edwards, Candidate Master Leigh Sandiford, Joshua Burke and Cody Sargeant – to finish a point and a half clear of his nearest challengers.

The new champion was even assured of the title going into the final round of games but did not ease off and completed another win to end with a 100 per cent record.

Both Edwards, the 2015 Under-18 champion and Sandiford, the reigning Under-14 champion and three-time Under-12 champion, finished on four and a half points, but Edwards clinched second place on the tie break.

The two players each won four games, drew against each other in the penultimate round and lost to Mahtani – Edwards in the third round and Sandiford in the fourth round.

Owing to the presence of only five girls, they competed among the boys and it came down to another tie-breaker after both Moore and Kandamaran ended on three and a half points.

The 13-year-old Moore, a second form student at Harrison College, prevailed on the tie-breaker with her schoolmate after pair won three games while drawing against each other.

The 2018 BCF programme will start tomorrow with the first of nine rounds of qualifiers for the national senior championships at the Chess Centre.

A busy January schedule will see the national Under-18, Under-16, Under-14, Under-12, Under-10 and Under-8 championships contested simultaneously for the first time on January 20, 21 and 22. These championships will serve as trials for the CAFIFTA Chess Championships in Suriname over the Easter weekend from March 30 to April 2. (HG)