“Top chess players qualify,” Trinidad Newsday, 26 February 2011.
Veteran chess player Frank Sears, Aditi Soondarsingh, FIDE Masters Keron Cabralis and Mario Merritt, all advanced in the first PKF national qualifier which ended recently, at the Barataria South Secondary School.
Sears, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Caribbean Chess Championship in 1972, qualified with victories over Vandoff Smith, the experienced Cecil Lee and closed off with a draw against Cabralis in the seven round Swiss format tournament.
CIC student Cabralis, confidently won the qualifier with 6.5 points, scoring full points against Kishore Ramadhar and Eddison Chang, then drawing with Sears.
The First Citizens chess nominee is scheduled to leave for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in March to compete in the America Zonal Championship. He is the first national to ever make it to the Zonal.
FIDE Master Merritt, drew with Allan Munro, but narrowly defeated the former national junior champion on points, to finish third and advance to the final. Merritt got past Christopher Raphael, Andrew Bowles and drew with Munro.
National women’s champion Soondarsingh scored four points to top the list of female competitors. She defeated Rishon Ramlogan, Omari Waldron, but lost to Bowles. Top junior performances came from Alpacino Smith (4 points), Vandoff Smith (3.5) and Christian Ammon (3.5).
The second qualifier takes place at Arima Boys RC on April 9, the third at Presentation College, San Fernando on May 14 and final at Scarborough Secondary, Tobago.