Blackman sweeps the boards
Justin Blackman completed a clean sweep of the boards to emerge a comfortable winner in the Barbados Chess Federation’s National Championship Second Qualifier.
The top seed recorded his ninth successive victory when the qualifier climaxed at the Chess Centre last Thursday night to finish two-and-a-half points clear of his nearest rival.
Blackman rounded off with wins over Lawrence Depradine and Randy Bennett to finish with a maximum nine points and duplicate the feat achieved by International Master Orlando Husbands in the first qualifier in January.
Former national Under-20 champion Akeem Cox, who was making a comeback to the sport, finished second with six-and-a-half points, the same as Jerome Harewood, who took third spot.
Emar Edwards, a well-known figure in road tennis circles, placed fourth with six points after drawing with Cox in the last round, while another former national Under-20 champion, Justin Parsons took the fifth-place with six points to complete the list of automatic qualifiers for the National Championship.
The last qualifying place, which goes to the best sixth-place finisher in the two qualifiers, went to sports journalist Randy Bennett, a former Curacao Open champion who was playing in his first local tournament after several years away from chess. Bennett finished with five-and-a-half points and edged out Depradine and Carifta Under-16 silver medallist Kyle Sandiford on the tie-break.
Sandiford took the prize for the Best Under-16 Player, while Carifta Under-16 girls’ silver medallist Vanessa Greenidge was the Best Female Player with five points, which placed her ninth overall among the 25 entrants.
The six qualifiers advanced to the National Championship to join the five players securing places from the first qualifier – Husbands, Candidate Master Bryan Prescod, Shane Maughn, Nitin Mahtani and Allan Herbert. Awaiting them to defend his title is six-time national champion Martyn Del Castilho.
The National Championship, which will be played over 11 rounds, starts on August 18. (BCF)