Jamaicans @ Baku 2016!

Prior to traveling to Baku, Azerbaijan, Ian Wilkinson as the Jamaican national teams were received by the Honorable Olivia Grange. She was introduced to the Jamaican players and briefed on their success. Wilkinson, the President of the Jamaica Chess Federation since June 2003 and has been a pillar of leadership on the “land of “wood and water”.

Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

At the conclusion of the meeting, Grange presented Wilkinson with a check for $J1,250,000. The Federation had received JM $750,000 previously making the total contribution $J2,000,000 through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF). The government website stated,

The Jamaica Chess Federation has done extremely well under the leadership of President Ian Wilkinson. You have had your challenges with not having enough funds to do all that you want to do and that is why when you asked for help so that you could make it to the Olympics I did not hesitate. (full story)

Sports Minister, Honourable Oliva ‘Babsy’ Grange presents President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, Ian Wilkinson with a cheque during a Courtesy Call paid on the Minister at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport on Thursday, August 25, 2016. The two were joined by members of the team that will represent Jamaica at the 2016 Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, September 1-14. Photo by Jamaica Information Service.

A FIDE member since the iconic year of 1972, Jamaica has had a history of participating in the Olympiad going all the way back to the 1978 when Buenos Aires hosted the festivities. In 1984 at the Thessaloniki Olympiad John Powell won a silver medal on board 4 with a score of 7/9. In 1990 at the Novi Sad Olympiad Christine Bennett brought the women firmly to the fore by scoring 6/7 to win a silver medal on board four.

Jamaican Olympiad team for 1990 Chess Olympiad in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.
Jamaicans for 1990 Chess Olympiad in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.

In those days the Olympiad medals were determined by the more democratic win percentage instead of the performance rating (which is biased toward top teams). In other words, a player from a less powerful team can get a 10/11 score and not win a medal since a player from a more powerful team could have a 5/8 score against other top teams. Those from less powerful teams are practically eliminated from any individual board medals.

Today, Jamaica has continued the tradition in the legacy of founder Enos Grant and continues to be one of the most recognizable teams at any Olympiad with their congenial persona and bright-colored uniforms. Wilkinson’s presidential tenure has one with ambitious plans, but what is more important is the profile he has given Jamaica within the FIDE arena. An accomplished lawyer with a successful law practice, the “Queen’s Counsel” honoree, and President of Jamaica Bar Association, Wilkinson has sought a higher profile for the island of approximately three million.

Jamaica teams in Baku, Azerbaijan! WIM Deborah Porter, CM Russel Porter, FM Ras Malaku Lorne, FM Damion Davy, WCM Melisha Smith, IM Jomo Pitterson, Sheryas Smith, CM Rachel Miller, WCM Ariel Barrett, WCM Annisha Smith, CM Brandon Wilson, FM Warren Elliott. Photos courtesy of Jamaican Chess Federation.

In Baku, the Jamaicans are quick to make an impression… and new friends! Most of all the Jamaicans are in Baku to make a stellar effort for the black, gold and green! Led by captains and former Olympians Jomo Pitterson and Russel Porter, each team is focused on winning the group prize and competing for norms. There are 185 members of FIDE and 166 have traveled to Baku to engage in competition and fellowship for the greatest game in history. Following are the results and in the comments is a synopsis of Jamaica’s performances with insightful reports by Ian Wilkinson.

2016 Chess Olympiad Tournament

September 1st-14th, 2016 (Baku, Azerbaijan)

JAMAICA (Open Section)
Match Scores (+4-5=2 – 10 pts.)
1 Argentina
2594 3½-½ Jamaica
2 Jamaica
2166 3½-½ Oman
3 Austria
2449 4-0 Jamaica
4 Jamaica
2166 2½-1½ Nigeria
5 Jamaica
2166 ½-3½ Uruguay
6 Scotland
2434 3-1 Jamaica
7 Sudan
2191 2-2 Jamaica
8 Jamaica
2166 1½-2½ Nepal
9 Jamaica
2166 3-1 Mauritania
10 Tunisia
2086 1-3 Jamaica
11 Jamaica
2166 2-2 South Africa
All Games from TWIC

* * *

2016 Chess Olympiad Tournament

September 1st-14th, 2016 (Baku, Azerbaijan)

JAMAICA (Women Section)
Match Scores (+4-5=2 – 10 pts.)
1 Bulgaria
2387 4-0 Jamaica
2 Jamaica
2449 4-0 Barbados
3 Mongolia
2332 3½-½ Jamaica
4 Jamaica
1787 2-2 Taiwan
5 Zambia
1787 1½-2½ Jamaica
6 Jamaica
1882 0-4 Belgium
7 Jamaica
1882 3-1 Malta
8 South Africa
1810 3-1 Jamaica
9 Jamaica
1882 1½-2½ Wales
10 South Korea
1720 2-2 Jamaica
11 Jamaica
1882 2½-1½ Trinidad & Tobago
All Games from TWIC


  1. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Opening & Round #1
    Friday, 2 September 2016

    The tournament begin with the Opening Ceremony which was said to be the best in Olympiad history. The presentation was a sensory buffet of energetic performances and colorful expressions. All countries were introduced to the cries of their participants. The powerful display by Azeri performers was enough to set a positive tone for the next two weeks.

    In most cases the first round will feature a heavyweight team versus a flyweight. The Bulgarian women scored a clean sheet against the Jamaican women, 4-0. The Jamaican men also went down in their first match against Argentina, a team full of Grandmasters. However, FM Damion Davy squandered away a half-point to GM Federico Perez after getting a completely winning position.

    Open: Argentina 3½-½ Jamaica
    Women: Bulgaria 4-0 Jamaica

    Report from Wilkinson, “Let the Games Begin” (PDF)

  2. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #2
    Saturday, 3 September 2016

    Jamaica vs. Barbados

    CARICOM Clash! Jamaica vs. Barbados

    Both Jamaica teams got walkovers against Oman and Barbados, respectively. There was nothing competitive about the matches, but interesting sidenotes were that former Jamaican Olympian works in Oman and will most likely give the Oman players a ribbing when they return. The Jamaica women will have bragging rights for the time being as Barbados is in a rebuilding phase.

    Open: Jamaica 3½-½ Oman
    Women: Jamaica 4-0 Barbados

    Report from Wilkinson, “Smashing Victories” (PDF)

  3. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #3
    Sunday, 4 September 2016

    As fate would have it in chess, one day you’re riding high and the next day you hit a low. Wilkinson described the phenomenon this way:

    The World Chess Olympiad is arguably the most fascinating of sporting contests where the maxim “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” is consistently witnessed. This tournament is often a veritable roller-coaster ride with fortunes swaying from one round to the next. Victories for teams such as Jamaica usually result in much tougher opponents the next round. Indeed, I had a brief discussion in the Press centre in Baku with the celebrated Spanish journalist Leontxo Garcia and mentioned the expression – “hoy por mi manana por ti – today for you tomorrow for me”!

    Jamaica vs. Austria

    Jamaica went down to Austria 4-nil.

    Jamaica vs. Mongolia

    Richards was on the verge of scoring the win against
    IM Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel of Mongolia.

    After resounding victories in the previous match, both teams got a thorough washing… 4-0 by Austria in the open and 3½-½ account by the Mongolian women (with the powerful sounding names). Deborah Richards-Porter was able to salvage a draw in her game with International Master Nomin-Erdene Davaademberel. In fact, in this Sveshnikov, it appears that Richards had the initiative as was on the verge of winning after 33…Qxb2! and launched a full-scale attack. The move 39…Rd1+ would have claimed victory, but what a nice game by the 10-time Jamaican champion!

    Open: Austria 4-0 Jamaica
    Women: Mongolia 3½-½ Jamaica

    Report from Wilkinson, “Deborah Saves Face” (PDF)

  4. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #4

    Monday, 5 September 2016


    Jamaicans Damion Davy and Sheryas Smith
    Damion Davy and Sheryas Smith
    Photo by JCF.

    This was a time to rebound from the crushing victories and Jamaica was up to the task. The Jamaicans would face their sometimes football rival in Nigeria, a team with a mix of veteran, but strengthened by young phenom FM Daniel Anwuli. The Eagles rested IM Oladapo Adu, their veteran talisman. Ras Malaku Lorne rested to get his bearings after a lackluster start. Meanwhile, the women had a much easier opponent in Chinese Taipei so Deborah Richards rested. However, that match was a surprising 2-2 draw! Disappointing. However, the Jamaicans roared to a one-point victory over Nigeria. All of the games were hotly-contested. Here they are!

    Open: Jamaica 2½-1½ Nigeria
    Women: Jamaica 2-2 Chinese Taipei

    Report from Wilkinson, “Jamaica defeats Nigeria!” (PDF)

  5. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #5
    Tuesday, 6 September 2016

    Today would be a disaster for the men as they were crushed by regional power Uruguay with who is lead by GM Andres Rodriguez. FM Warren Elliott actually held him salvaging dignity for the side. The game went 81 moves and the Jamaica showed technique in the textbook rook ending.

    On the women’s side an epic matchup between WIM Deborah Richards-Porter and WFM Lorita Mwango, a rising star from Zambia. Mwango is from Ndola, the same hometown as GM Amon Simutowe.

    WFM Lorita Mwango... Untold Stories of Africa

    Lorita Mwango featured in special promotion.

    She also has quite a high profile back home… as does Deborah, a 10-time women’s champion. So, we have two of the strongest women in the African Diaspora facing off in a fierce battle. They did not disappoint! In the tactical battle, white’s king was stuck in the middle and was ensnared in a crossfire.

    Open: Uruguay 3½-½ Jamaica
    Women: Zambia 1½-2½ Jamaica

    Report from Wilkinson, “A Thing of Beauty – Jamaica Women outclass Zambia” (PDF)

  6. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #6
    Thursday, 8 September 2016

    After the famous Bermuda Party and the must-needed rest day, the teams got back to work. The Jamaican “Reggae Boyz” faced the Scottish “Tartan Terriers”. Scotland has suffered a clean sheet loss to Turkey and a 3-1 flogging to Israel so they were well-rested… and made. With the effects of the spirits they had at the party, they were back to business. They proceeded to get a 3-1 verdict over the Jamaicans. In fact, Ian Wilkinson stated that the contest was closer than the score indicates.

    FM Warren Elliott essayed his Benko Gambit on IM Andrew Greet, but he played a sharp sequence with 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. Nf3 Bb7 5. Nfd2 bxc4 6. e4 e6 7. dxe6 dxe6!? 8.Nc3 Nc6 with equality. The queens were traded and the minor piece party favored white side ever so slightly. As the game wore on, Greet was showing a bit more understanding when Elliott blundered horribly and faced massive material loss.

    The “barnburner” was Davy-Shaw on board two… a fire-breathing Sicilian Dragon. Davy proceeded to try to raid black’s king, but was beaten back in time. Take a look.

    In McNab-Lorne, the game was unequal throughout when white’s king sprinted up the board and participated in an attack ala Nigel Short. Perhaps losing his sense of danger, Lorne blundered with 47…Ke7?? and after 48.Kf5! he is in a mating net and has to donate his bishop to stave off mate. Jamaican Junior Champion Sheryas Smith had a great game until he started trading off his strong pieces for his opponent’s bad ones. Still a good result for the young upstart.

    The Jamaican women had a hard time in today’s match with Belgium losing by a clean sheet. Any interesting fact occurred… pairs of sisters faced each other on boards three and four! The Barbier sisters won over the Smith sisters. Typically, a team wants to avoid losing by +4 or +3 since those 1/2-points become important when vying for category prizes. Not a good day for the “Reggae Girlz,” but the battle on board one was filled with tension. Great fight!

    Open: Scotland 3-1 Jamaica
    Women: Jamaica 0-4 Belgium

    Report from Wilkinson, “Brave Heart” (PDF)

  7. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #7
    Friday, 9 September 2016

    Jamaican teams are trying to gain some consistency in match play. The idea of winning one match and losing the next is certainly not an appealing proposition. In today’s matches, both teams got back on track after losing badly in round 6. The Jamaica women beat the lower-ranked Malta team 3-1 For the women, they had an easier time as Deborah Richards-Porter led the team to victory with a crushing blow to Oana Caruana-Pulpan.

    WIM Deborah Richards

    WIM Deborah Richards

    Sudan caused a sensation after holding Bulgaria to a 2-2 and with FM Abubaker Tagelsir beating GM Momchil Nikolov. So perhaps Sudan felt they would be the slight favorite in this match against Jamaica. With Warren Elliott resting, Damion Davy took top board and drew with Samir Nadir. Tagelsir beat Malaku Lorne when he inexplicably played 12.e4? when 12…dxe4 simply wins a pawn. If 13.Ndxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Bxh2+ 15.Kxh2 Bxe4 16.Nxe4 Qh4+. So Lorne playing 13.Be2 and ended up succumbing to a blistering attack after 26…Bxh3!

    Open: Sudan 2-2 Jamaica
    Women: Jamaica 3-1 Malta

    Report from Wilkinson, “Jamaica tames ‘The Maltese Falcon’” (PDF)

  8. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #8
    Saturday, 10 September 2016

    Jamaican teams faced their counterparts in the African Diaspora with the open team facing Mauritania and the women’s team facing South Africa. Both opponents represent polar opposite in terms of experience with Mauritania being a relatively new federation while the South African women often compete for honors at continental events. Therefore, the results of round 8 made sense.

    The Jamaicans bested the Mauritanians with a smooth 3-1 count with the most important point was Malaku Lorne’s win over his opponent. Perhaps Baku has been too good to the Ras King as he has been photographed taking in all that the fine city has to offer. It is good to see him get the “W”.

    For the women, they where on the wrong side of the 3-1 count as Deborah Richards-Porter beat fellow WIM Anzel Laubscher. With three more rounds to play, the Jamaicans hope to end the tournament on a high note and to compete for category prizes.

    Open: Jamaica 3-1 Mauritania
    Women: Jamaica 1-3 South Africa

    Report from Wilkinson, “Jamaica-Africa” (PDF)

  9. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #9
    Sunday, 11 September 2016

    Jamaica took it on the chin today in both matches by the same 2½-1½ count to Nepal and Wales, respectively. Both teams are vying for category prizes, but may have hurt their chances. In the penultimate round Jamaica will face Tunisia (open) and South Korea (women). Both teams are +3-5=1 and will try to approach 50% score.

    Open: Jamaica 2½-1½ Nepal
    Women: Wales 2½-1½ Jamaica

    Report from Wilkinson, “Missed Chances” (PDF)

  10. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #10
    Monday, 12 September 2016

    Jamaica took out previous frustrations of losing in the previous round to give Tunisia a thrashing. Elliott, Davy and Wilson scored points for the winning side. In the women’s match with lower-rated Korea, Jamaica stumbled as Rachel Miller (1971) lost to Seyeon Lee (1577).

    Open: Tunisia 1-3 Jamaica
    Women: Korea 2-2 Jamaica

  11. 2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #11
    Tuesday, 13 September 2016

    The Baku Olympiad has come to a close with both Jamaican team ending on positive notes. Jamaican open team played South African as the women did in the 9th round and fared a bit better ending with a 2-2 draw. Resting their top board in GM Kenny Solomon, “Bafana Bafana” pitted IM Daniel Cawdery against FM Warren Elliott. That game ended in a draw.

    IM Watu Kobese at 1998 U.S. Masters in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    IM Watu Kobese at 1998 U.S. Masters in Honolulu, Hawaii.
    He had beaten Judit Polgar in Cap d’Agde that year.
    Photo by Jerry Bibuld.

    The most interesting match had to be FM Damion Davy taking on African legend IM Watu Kobese who has long been the iconic figure of South African struggle. Having been the one of the brightest start in Black South Africa during apartheid, his talent was stunted by racist policies and further impeded by sanctions against the country.

    Jamaica vs. South Africa (open)

    Jamaica vs. South Africa (open)
    Jamaica South Africa Jamaica South Africa Jamaica South Africa

    No one knows what could have been with this fine talent. He received training in Germany and owns several scalps, but lack of sponsorship and competition thwarted his goal of becoming a Grandmaster. He was instrumental in Solomon becoming the first. In his game with Davy with very simple play, forcing him to capitulate in 33 moves. The game is an instructive display of superior positional understanding of minor pieces.

    Smith played a topsy-turvy game with Donovan van den Heever ending with a win for the Jamaican. Wilson and Klassen played to a contentious 86-move draw ending the tournament for the Jamaicans on 10 points.

    The women ended with a 2½-1½ victory over Caribbean rival Trinidad & Tobago securing bragging rights until they meet again. The top scorer for Jamaica was Deborah Richards-Porter with 6/10 (TPR: 2072)

    Jamaica vs. Trinidad & Tobago (women)

    Jamaica vs. Trinidad (women)
    Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago

    In terms of regional comparisons, Ian Wilkinson gave the following:

    Jamaica’s women ended on 10 points and in 86th position, down from the starting rank of 75 but way ahead of rival West Indian neighbours – Trinidad & Tobago (108 – 8 points); Guyana (127 – 6 points; Maria Varona-Thomas earning the WFM title with 8 points from 11 games); and Barbados (128 – 6 points).

    Open: Jamaica 2-2 South Africa
    Women: Jamaica 1-3 Trinidad & Tobago

    Report from Wilkinson, “The Finale” (PDF)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button