SPORTS HISTORY FOR JAMAICA
Jamaica’s ten-time National Women’s Chess Champion, Woman International Master (“WIM”) Deborah Richards-Porter has become the first Jamaican female player to participate in the Zonals competition, a qualification event for the Women’s World Chess Championships.
This year’s event is being held from November 2-9 in Managua, Nicaragua and will be played over nine rounds. Richards, ranked seventh of fourteen players from six countries, has had a good start to the competition with victories against Nicaragua’s Gabriela Arevalo and Woman FIDE Master (“WFM”) Kathya Mendieta in the first and second rounds, respectively.
This has put her in the joint lead on two points with the third ranked Cuban WIM Yuliesy Hernandez. In the third round she will wield the white pieces on the top board against her toughest opponent to date, the said WIM Yuliesy Hernandez who is rated three hundred points higher.
Richards-Porter qualified for the Zonals by finishing third (7.5/9, half a point behind the top two players) in the 2014 Sub-Zonals event in Suriname. There she made history by becoming the first player from the English-speaking Caribbean to be awarded the “WIM” title. She won ten consecutive Jamaican Women’s titles between 2002 and 2011 and was awarded the WFM title based on her performance in the 2006 Turin, Olympiad. She recently won the 2015 Jamaica Open tournament.
Deborah Richards-Porter in Millionaire Chess qualifier Mark Holness.
Photo courtesy of Jamaican Chess Federation.
In Nicaragua Richards-Porter is accompanied by her husband and coach FIDE Candidate Master Russel Porter. Their participation was made possible by sponsorship from the Confederation of Chess in the Americas, the Jamaica Chess Federation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.