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Page 4 Jamaica at Olympiad 2002 (Ian Wilkinson)

Memorable Moments

I could not end this article without highlighting what were, for me, some of the positive events at the Olympiad. There are many outstanding memories from the Olympiad. I will just list a few here.

Maria Palmer (JAM)-Vivian Smith (NZL).

In Palmer-Smith, black lost a piece early and white ended all hopes of a swindle with the pretty, 24.Qxb8+! Rxb8 25.Rxg6+ hxg6 26.Bxe7.

"Jamaica's highest rated player is to be commended for making the trip and representing his country although he lost his mother only a few days before the Olympiad started."

  • My impromptu hugging, lifting and spinning Jamaica's Vanessa Thomas after she managed a miraculous draw against Puerto Rico's Miriam Basem-Hassan in the board three encounter in round eight. This result enabled Jamaica to draw the match. This "quiet" celebration and display of emotion was met with numerous smiles and curious stares by security personnel, arbiters, players and spectators.
  • The Jamaican women's 2-1 victory over European team Luxembourg in round ten. I recall Luxembourg GM Alberto David (board one for the men's team) visiting the match on several occasions to look at the games and could not believe what he was seeing. David went on to win a silver medal for his 85% performance on board one.
  • National champion Deborah Richards' fighting loss (almost 80 moves) to the seasoned Luxembourg WFM Grazyna Bakalarz on board one in their round ten encounter. Richards learnt the game/moves less than one year ago!!
  • The raucous welcome given to Jamaican NM Shane Matthews on his arrival at the Hotel Krim on Sunday 27th October, 2002. Jamaica's highest rated player is to be commended for making the trip and representing his country although he lost his mother only a few days before the Olympiad started.

Caribbean Clash! Jamaica vs. Barbados. The tense match was drawn 2-2. Copyright  Allan Herbert, 2002.

Caribbean Clash! Jamaica vs. Barbados
The tense clash ended 2-2.

"Gwaze's play epitomized the exciting nature of chess when it is played in positive and/or uncompromising fashion."

  • Hungarian GM Judit Polgar's Ruy Lopez defeat of Azerbaijani GM Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov in round four. Polgar unleashed the spectacle 12.Nxf7!! sacrifice of her steed and the rest was history.
  • The ageless wonder, septuagenarian Russian-born Swiss GM Victor Korchnoi's victory over the strong Israeli board one GM Ilya Smirin in round two play as both countries drew 2-2. This game attracted a bumper crowd.
  • 1999 FIDE World champion Russian GM Alexander Khalifman's military strolling between moves, punctuated by profound concentration on his face.
  • Watching Zimbabwean board one IM Robert Gwaze play, especially his last two games where he decimated Hong Kong's Edwin Borigas (round 11) and Bahrain's Ibrahim Dafi Almannai (round 12). Gwaze's play epitomized the exciting nature of chess when it is played in positive and/or uncompromising fashion.

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Photo Credit

Jamaica vs. Barbados (Allan Herbert).