Jamaica leaves for 2010 Olympiad!

Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

2010 Jamaican Olympiad teams

2010 Jamaican Olympiad delegation at Normal Manley International Airport

Jamaica’s best and brightest chess minds left Norman Manley International Airport enroute to the 39th Chess Olympiad. President Ian Wilkinson expressed excitement of the possibilities for the island nation of 2.7 million patriots. Jamaica acheived their best performance in the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden.

In addition, Jomo Pitterson became the third Jamaican to earn his FM title with a sparkling 7/9. He would then become the first Jamaican to earn his International Master title with his victory at the subzonal this year. Thus, Jamaica has high hopes this Olympiad and will send both a men’s and women’s team.

The men’s team consists of FM Warren Elliott, IM Jomo Pitterson, Duane Rowe, Shane Matthews, Russel Porter. The women’s team will consist of WFM Deborah Richards, Krishna Gray, Ariel Barrett, Margoe Williams, Annesha Smith.


  1. Allan Herbert reports that the Jamaican side went down 2½-1½. FM Warren Elliott was locked in a fierce battle with GM Jon Ludvig Hammar and when the smoke cleared, the Jamaica had an equal position. However, he erred and allowed the Norwegian to get his pawns rollings and had to concede the point. IM Jomo Pitterson won on board #2 against IM Frode Elsness despite a 243-point ELO deficit. Duane Rowe drew and Shane Matthews lost. Magnus Carlsen had sent a Tweet on his page saying that the match outcome was still unclear and praised the Jamaicans for a good fight.

    Good showing from Jamaica.

  2. Jamaica jumpstarts its campaign in the 39th Chess Olympiad

    Jamaica began its participation in the 39th edition of the biennial Chess Olympiad, an 11-round competition. The Chess Olympiad, organized by the governing world chess body FIDE, is being hosted by Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from September 19 to October 4, 2010. Teams from 144 countries are competing in both the Open section and the women’s section, with 157 teams in the Open section and 118 teams in the women’s section.

    In 2008, Jamaica was the top finishing English-speaking island from the Caribbean finishing 80th, 24 places above its rank. The Chess Olympiad was then held in Dresden, Germany. In this year’s Olympiad, Jamaica’s men team is ranked 96th and the women’s team is ranked 95th in their respective sections.

    Day One

    In the first round the men’s team comprising of FM Warren Elliot, IM Jomo Pitterson, SNM Duane Rowe and NM Shane Matthews played Norway, ranked 25th and which boasts the top rated player in the world, 19 year old GM Carlsen Magnus. Carlsen was, however, rested for this face-off.

    Playing the white side of the main line of the Grünfeld, the Exchange Variation, Pitterson was able to secure a pawn advantage by move 26 and pressed this advantage to victory over the next 21 moves, with dynamic and aggressive play on both sides. Rowe earned the remaining half-point for the team, in a 54-move draw playing the black side of a declined Benko Gambit.

    In the women’s half, Jamaica’s team consisting of WFM Deborah Richards, Krishna Gray, Ariel Barrett and Margoe Williams played 39th ranked Colombia, with Richards scoring the only win in the 1-3 scoreline. Playing the English opening against WIM Nadya Karolina Ortiz, and an early e4, she forced her opponent into lines of the King’s Indian Defence. After capitalizing on a 22nd move blunder, she was on the better side of a rook-knight exchange and was able to aggressively push her material advantage for a quick win: her opponent resigning 6 moves later.

    Day Two

    The men’s team went into action against Monaco, ranked 93rd. SNM Duane Rowe defeated FM Patrick Van Hoolandt. Playing a quick-tempo Scotch game, Rowe was a pawn down by move 20, but took advantage of a poorly placed rook on move 28 to win a rook-bishop exchange and secure the win in a 37 moves game. NM Shane Matthews defeated Karl Johan Ribbegren, who miscalculated in the middle-game going down a bishop after a quick flurry of exchanges, and eventually succumbing to both material and time deficits in a quick 34 moves game. IM Jomo Pitterson drew his 38 moves game against Jean-Francois Nellis’ Trompowsky Attack.

    The women’s team maintained its 1-3 scoreline against 111th ranked Sri Lanka, with Richards continuing her superb form. She defeated IU Basnayake who went into the solid non-mainline Alapin variation against Richard’s Sicilian defence. Richards had to patiently manouevre her pieces until decisive breakthroughs came with pawn-gains on moves 56 and 66 and checkmate after an arduous 72 moves.

    Day 3

    The men played 107th ranked Turkmenistan, and were routed 0.5 – 3.5 with NM Russell Porter earning the only half-point in his first day of play. Porter, trotting out his trusted English opening, was on the wrong side of a bishop-rook exchange by move 18; but was able, through accurate play, force a draw by move 42.

    After a slow start to the tournament, the women’s team had a better day against 93rd ranked Trinidad and Tobago. Richards, a protégé of Porter, rolled out the English opening, pushing the envelope against her opponent, Aditi Soondarsingh, whose pieces were increasingly overworked. Soondarsingh was soon disposed in a 39-move checkmate. Margoe Williams rounded off the scorecard. Although able to exploit her opponent’s misplaced rook on move 30 to snatch a pawn advantage, she was unable to maintain the material gain. However, leveraging a passed pawn to her benefit, she exploited her opponent’s backward pawn weaknesses to ground out victory in 65 moves.

    ~Ryan Palmer (roppalmer@hotmail.com)

  3. Matthews’ brilliant rook and queen sacrifice
    brings Jamaica home and Smith saves Jamaica from whitewash!

    Day 5

    The Jamaica men’s team entered day 5 of competition with a tally of 4.5 out of 16. Playing the lowly 140th ranked Mauritius, with an average ELO advantage of 160+ on each board, Jamaica was expected to easily dispose of the Mauritian challenge, on paper at least. All previous matches for the Mauritius team, however, have been against higher ranked teams. And although they have not won any of their matches, they have been able to hold their own, with a creditable result of 6 from 16.

    In this face-off, The Reggae Chess Boyz, with brilliance on the lower boards, were able to convert their paper advantage into a convincing 3 – 1 victory Mauritius.

    The day’s play went as follows: FM Warren Elliot drew white against Roy Jean-Noel Phillips; IM Jomo Pitterson had the black pieces against Devarajen Chinasamy; NM Shane Matthews played white against Pradeep Seegolam; and, NM Russell Porter rounded out the team with black against Derek Warren Sum Ping.

    Holy aggression

    Elliot, playing aggressively in the classical variation of the French defense, wasted no time in trying to gain open lines on the king side, manoeuvring his major and minor pieces into action against the black king. With Phillips making a run for play on the queen side, it was first move advantage to Elliot who, however after throwing up to the kitchen sink at Phillips, eventually ran out of sufficient pieces and tactics to force the win and had to settle for the draw.

    Pitterson fared no better playing the black side of the Winawer variation in the French defense. Playing on both sides of the board, with a king in the centre, and all major and minor pieces lingering on the 7th and 8th rank, Pitterson was hard-pressed to find clear lines for pursuing the win and settled for the draw after 21 moves.

    It was the lower boards which upped the ante and put the result beyond any doubt. Matthews, playing the white side of the Poisoned Pawn Variation in the Najdorf-Sicilian, was in a no nonsense mood as he quickly marshalled his rooks onto the third rank. With black appearing clueless to his impending fate, Matthews delivered a brilliant rook and queen sacrifice on pawns at g7 and h6 to denude black’s king and settle the question after 21 moves!

    Russell brought out his Sicilian in a game that saw him taking advantage of an early move blunder by white to be a pawn-up by move 12. Pressing for activity on the queenside, but finding no tactical breakthrough, Russell entered into a favourable endgame after white gave up a pawn on the 39th move. Russell was easily able to engineer a straightforward win in his shortest (48 moves) game of the tournament.

    Miscalculations Abound

    In the women’s section Jamaica was paired against bottom seeded Zambia. With 1 win, 1 draw and 2 losses, they had similar win-draw-loss proportions as Jamaica, but a better points tally, coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Aruba in the previous round. They therefore started play with 7.5 out of 16; while Jamaica brought forward 6.5 out of 16 points. The Jamaica’s women’s team would, however, find Zambia in an aggressive mood: belying their minnow-like status. Zambia came to play and trashed Jamaica into a 1 – 3 submission.

    On board 1 WFM Deborah Richards drew black against Epah Tembo; on board 2 Ariel Barrett drew white against Makumba Lorita Mwango; on board 3 Margoe Williams played black against Constance Chilesh Mbatha; and, on board 4 Annesha Smith played white against Linda Banti Hamoonga.

    Richards faced an aggressive Tembo, and her Najdorf-Sicilian fed Tembo’s tactical energies. With a king in the centre, Tembo went for the correct attacking line of stripping away the noise of the pawns, offering up a bishop for two pawns on move 17. With active major and minor attacking pieces, and pins in play, Richards was in an unfamiliar psychological space and blundered her bishop, after attempting to defuse the Tembo bombshell. Richards searched for counterplay with threats from her queen-knight-rook triad, but could find no breakthrough against the activity of Tembo’s rooks and Queen. This signaled Richard’s first loss of the tournament.

    Barrett, after playing a steady opening and middle-game, under-estimated black’s pawn pushes on the queenside and the subsequent open lines for black’s rook, resulting in a rapid-fire back-rank checkmate as rook and queen tag teamed against a poorly resourced king.

    Margoe trotted out the Najdorf-Sicilian and soon found herself in trouble, facing a rooklift on white’s third rank and a bishop-Queen combination, eyeing mate on h7. Forced to yield her h6 pawn, she eventually entered the endgame a pawn down and with bishops of opposite colours. Mbatha struggled to find an opening and eventually broke through with the idea of creating passed pawns on both flanks on move 74. With a king trying now to defend two opposite points of the board, Mbatha achieved tactical supremacy and settled the issue in her favour after 92 moves.

    Annesha playing queen’s pawn opening was able to tie her opponent’s pieces down to the back three ranks, where they had little opportunity for development or movement. Her opponent found herself in time trouble and Annesha found herself on the scorecard with a victory for the first time after 5 rounds of play.

    ~Ryan Palmer (roppalmer@hotmail.com)

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