Warren Elliott 1st winner of Robert Wheeler Open!
Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

Ian Wilkinson, "Robert Wheeler Chess Open," 28 May 2003 (St. Andrew, Jamaica).

"At its meeting held on the 26th April, 2003 the Council of the Jamaica Chess Federation agreed to the proposal by the acting president, Ian Wilkinson, to re-name the Easter Open tournament the "Robert Wheeler Chess Open" in honour of arguably Jamaica's longest serving chess administrator/player."

Robert Wheeler

The German-born, English-bred
Robert Wheeler has lived in Jamaica for thirty years, serving chess in the Caribbean tremendously. Currently the Secretary of the Jamaica Chess Federation, he has been Jamaican national champion on many occasions and has represented the "land of wood and water" at numerous chess Olympiads, including the most recent in Bled, Slovenia. He has also been Jamaica's delegate to a number of Fide congresses.

Local legends
Dr. Harold Chan, Thomas Figueroa (of blessed memory) and Wheeler hold the distinction of being the first players to be awarded the Jamaican title of National Master in 1975. For thirty years Wheeler has remained very competitive on the chess circuit, putting up strong performances against Jamaica's younger generation of leading players (including NM Shane Matthews and FM Warren Elliott) as recent as the 2002 national championships.

Jamaican Federation President Ian Wilkinson with NM Robert Wheeler at the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. Photo by Jerry Bibuld.

FM Warren Elliott takes Top Honors!

The tournament which was held on the 3rd and 4th of May, 2003 attracted three sponsors, Axis (Jamaica) Limited, Sharon McDaniel and the hosts of the tournament the Four Seasons Hotel, Ruthven Road in Kingston/St.Andrew.

The event, a six-round Swiss with a time control of 30 moves in one hour with 30 minutes to complete, attracted 32 players including a number of national masters. The pairings for each round was done by the "Swiss-sys" program. Three rounds were played each day. The tournament director was
Mark Bowen and the assistant TD was Sidley Matthews Jnr.

There was a lot of fighting chess especially among the National Masters who provided a lot of bloodletting! When the dust had settled two players remained unbeaten,
FM Warren Elliott and NM Shane Matthews, both of whom drew their individual encounter.

FM Warren Elliott, 2-time Defending Champion

FM Warren Elliott

It was Elliott, however, who won clear first with 5/6.  Entering the final round with 4/5 and knowing that a win would give him clear first, Elliott, facing the tough NM Russel Porter on board one pulled out all the stops (especially after realizing that Matthews had won on board two and was now on 5 points) and defeated Porter in an exciting game which went into a time scramble and had the players and spectators applauding loudly at the end. He duly received the brand new trophy, a gold medal and a cash prize.

Shane "The Magician" Matthews with 5/6 (with two draws against Elliott and Porter) won a silver medal and a cash prize ahead (on tiebreaks) of the improving Markland "Dougnik" Douglas who placed a strong third and won a bronze medal and a cash prize.

The Exciting Porter

NM Russel Porter (pictured right) finished 4th and, arguably, provided the most exciting games in the tournament as his victories against former national junior champion Daren Wisdom (2nd round) and former national champion NM Duane Rowe (5th round) and his loss to Elliott in the final round were humdingers.

Wisdom was the best junior; Wolmer's Girls'
Deborah Richards, Jamaica's Chess Olympiad representative and defending national female champion, was the best female; Ian Barnett (from the parish of Portland) was the best under 1800 player; Wolmers' Girls' Diandra Farquharson was the best under 1400 player while Portland's Matthew McBean was voted the best new player.

Ian Wilkinson, St. Andrew, Jamaica

NM Russel Porter

NM Russel Porter

Posted by The Chess Drum: 29 May 2003