by Allan Herbert
The UWI Chess Society in collaboration with the Magnificent Chess Foundation struck gold this past March, in successfully hosting the strongest and largest chess tournament Jamaica has ever seen.
The tournament – “The Magnificent Chess UWI Open” saw the advancement of the quality of chess played within Jamaica featuring a highlighted Master’s section. Within this section GM Alfonso Romero Holmes (Spain), IM Jose Vilela (Cuba), FM Delisle Warner (Barbados), and FM Bengt Hammar (Sweden) went against three of Jamaica’s best, FM Warren Elliot, FM Jomo Pitterson and NM Shane Mathews.
From left to right, FM Warner (Barbados), IM Vilela (Cuba), GM Holmes (Spain), FM Hammar (Sweden), FM Pitterson (Jamaica), NM Matthews (Jamaica), FM Elliott (Jamaica)
These masters exhibited a superior level of chess to over 400 budding players also participating within the Open, Intermediate, Beginners and Scholastic sections of the tournament, at the University of the West Indies Mona's Assembly Hall.
GM Holmes, finishing the tournament in grand fashion with no losses and a result of 5.5 games out of 6 after taking a draw against IM Jose Vilela, brought no surprise to the spectators of the event winning the Master’s Section.
Locals FM Warren Elliot and NM Shane Mathews gave Jamaica a strong finish coming in second and third respectively with the same result of 3.5 points, separated based on tie break scores.
Additionally, the Open, Intermediate, and Beginner sections were won by NM Russell Porter, Kenville Lockhart, and Trevor Bennet respectively.
A major highlight of the event was the scholastic section in which over 200 school children battled with their minds. Hwananani Feledi, Kenville Lockhart and NM Brandon Wilson were the top University players in the Beginners, Intermediate and Open sections respectively.
The event was sponsored by Guardian Life Limited, General Accident Insurance Company and Supreme Ventures Limited, all of whom clearly aspire towards building a brighter and smarter Jamaica.