2012 Jamaica National Championships

Announced Field for National Champs
Claire Clarke with Stuart James contributing
March 23, 2012, Volume 1. No. 17

It is a hot year for chess all over the world as most countries are in the throes of selecting national representatives for the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, this summer. Jamaica is no different.

The top 24 players in the island and the top eight female players have been invited by the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) to play in the 44th annual National Championship from which final selections on who will be on the Olympiad squads will be finalised.

The JCF has already done a preliminary selection of the Olympic squads for the open and women’s sections who must among four criteria, play in the National Tournament and place in the top 10 for the Open or top six for the women to make the final cut for the team to represent Jamaica.

Damion Davy
2011 National Champion

The 24 players invited to participate in the National Champion-ships Open are: National Cham-pion 2011, National Master (NM) Damion Davy, National Junior Champion 2011, Miguel Asher, National Junior Champion 2012 Stuart James, FIDE Candidate Master (CM) Mark Holness, CM Duane Rowe, NM Malaku Lorne, NM Andrew Mellace, Women’s FIDE Master (WFM) Deborah Richards, International Master (IM) Jomo Pitterson, FIDE Master (FM) Warren Elliot, FM Shane Matthews, NM Peter Myers, NM Mikhail Solomon, Ian Wilkinson, Amari James, Mark Henry, Paul Brooks, Zachary Ramsay, Kenroy Smith, Sheyras Smith, Andrew Soares, Peter Thomas, Walter Williams and Markland Douglas.

Invited to play in the National Championships Women are: Ariel Barrett, Alethia Edwards, National Junior Champion girls 2012 Krishna Gray, Zhu Hui, Rachel Miller, Annesha Smith, Melisha Smith and Kadian McGlashan.

Note that WFM Richards has been invited to play in the National Open Championships, and JCF selection committee representative Robert Wheeler explained that by virtue of this invitation she is an automatic selection for the women’s Olympiad team if she were not to qualify for the Open team.

The deadline for registration in this tournament is today and play will start on April 13 and continue to April 19.

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James wins National Juniors!

The 2012 National Junior Champion is Stuart James, who beat Tewana Mellace when the tiebreak was played last weekend at Kingston College. Both players ended the tournament on 6.5 points each two weekends ago, which forced the tiebreak that James won by 2.5 to 0.5.

Mind Chess Tournament (March 30th-April 1st)

Next weekend, the Challenge, the Mind Chess tournament, the first in a series of tournaments designed to spread chess across the island, kicks off at Dinthill Technical High School, Linstead, St Catherine. The tournament caters to children ages 6-20 and is organised by Chess Unlimited, an outfit run by IM Jomo Pitterson and FM Warren Elliot.

National Commercial Bank Insurance Company (NCBIC) is on board as a sponsor of this tournament. Joseph Montaque, senior marketing officer at NCB Insurance Company Limited, said: “The partnership with the Jamaica Chess Federation to host the Challenge The Mind Youth Chess Championship allows us to foster the development of the minds of the over 400 children expected to enter the championship.”

Upcoming tournaments

  • March 24: Queen’s Prep one day Chess tournament at The Queen’s School, deadline for entries March 21.
  • March 31: Challenge the Mind Chess Championships at Dinthill Technical High School
  • April 6-April 10: Carifta Chess Tournament in Trinidad.
  • April 13-19: National Chess Championships (Open and Women) at the Norman Manley Law School.

Email feedback, send in your games or upcoming tournaments to yourchessmate@yahoo.com and join thefacebook page chessmate. Claire Clarke is a former women’s national champion, three-time Jamaica women’s team chess Olympiad representative, trained journalist and editor.


  1. From Claire C. Grant…

    The Magician, FM Shane Matthews leads the race for the national open title after three rounds … a perfect score of 3 from three. On Friday he play IM Jomo Pitterson who has not lost a game either and stands on 2.5 from 3 having drawn with … sizzling how Carifta Junior champ and National Junior champ Stuart James.

    FM Warren Elliott is also defeated on 2.5 from 3 and will play the undefeated CM Duane Rowe on the same score. FM Elliot drew with Ian Wilkinson JCF president and CM Duane Andre Rowe held a draw again WFM Deborah Cga Richards-Porter in round two. …. full report on Friday … Round 4 is on Friday

    April 18, 2012
    Zachary Ramsay, The Jamaica Chess Federation

    Matthews Takes Early Lead At Chess Champs

    The Jamaica National Chess Championships got off to a thrilling start this weekend at the Spanish Court Hotel. The tournament, which is in its 44th edition, headlines with the highest ranked players in the history of the game in Jamaica competing in a new twenty-four player format. Super National Master (SNM) Duane Rowe, International Master Jomo Pitterson, defending champion Damion Davy and FIDE Masters Warren Elliott and Shane Matthews started as clear favorites. However, they have already faced serious opposition from their competitors.

    In the first round, National Master Davy sufferred a shocking upset to National Under 16 Champion Shreyas Smith, while Elliott was forced to settle for a draw against the lower ranked Ian Wilkinson in a dead-locked game. The second round saw similiar setbacks, as Pitterson drew with the recently crowned CARIFTA Under-20 Champion Stuart James, and Rowe narrowly escaped defeat to salvage a draw against the defending Women’s Champion Deborah Richards-Porter. In the meanwhile, Matthews, who is a record seven-time champion, advanced to the top of the table scoring perfectly with three points after defeating Kenroy Smith and National Masters Mark Holness and Andrew Mellace in rounds one to three respectively.

    Round four action will see exciting clashes between Matthews and Pitterson, and long time rivals Elliott and Rowe. Pitterson, Elliott and Rowe enter the fourth round with 2.5 points, and are trailed closely behind by Smith, James, Walter Williams and National Master Mikhail Solomon, who all have 2 points.

    The National Women’s Championship, which is taking place concurrently, features the top eight female chess players in the island competing in a closed round-robin. Krishna Gray and Women’s Candidate Master Hui Zhu, who are both leading the event with 2.5 points from three games, will meet in the fourth round of action.

    The tournament continues on April 20 at 6:00pm at the Spanish Court Hotel and is sponsored by the Sports Development Foundation, the Spanish Court Hotel, the Norman Manley Law School, and the Magnificent Chess Foundation.

    Photo Caption: Women’s FIDE Master and record ten times Women’s Champion Deborah Richards-Porter (left) narrowly missed a winning move against Jamaica’s number one rated player Super National Master Duane Rowe (right) in second round action of the 44th Jamaica National Chess Championships. The game ended in a draw.

    # # #

    For more information, please call 882-7822

  3. Winners at 2012 Jamaican Championships

    BACK (L-R): NM Robert Wheeler, FA, Kevron Campbell (partially obscured – 3rd on tie-breaks – President’s Invitational;); Michael Diedrick (partially obscured – 2nd tie-breaks President’s Invitational); Ian Wilkinson; NM Andrew Mellace (1st-2nd National Championship); NM Damion Davy (1st-2nd National Championship);

    FRONT (L-R): Alistair Walker – Winner President’s Invitational; Melisha Smith – 2nd-3rd Women’s Nationals; Krishna Gray – winner Women’s Nationals; Ariel Barrett – 2nd-3rd Women’s Nationals; FM Shane Matthews – 3rd Nationals.

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