Jamaica's Ras Malaku Lorne wins Harold Chan Open! 

Ian Wilkinson, "Harold Chan Open: Jamaican 'Juniors' Dominate," 30 July 2003 (Kingston, Jamaica).

Jamaican 'Juniors' Dominate

Another landmark was indelibly etched in Jamaica's rich chess history with the inaugural staging of the Harold Chan Chess Open tournament on the lush grounds of Preston Hall at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the 26th and 27th July, 2003.

Dr. Harold Chan

The tournament, originally the "Summer Open" was renamed in honour of one of Jamaica's chess legends,
Dr. Harold Chan, who, along with NM Robert Wheeler and the late NM Thomas Figueroa, achieved the title of National Master in 1975 - the first time the title was conferred locally. Dr. Chan said that he was humbled by the Jamaica Chess Federation's decision to honour him.

Glittering Chess Career

Dr. Chan, a pathologist, had a glittering chess career in Jamaica upon arriving from his native Guyana in 1970. He won the title of national champion on five occasions (1972 - 1974, 1978 and 1979) and finished in the top three on seven other occasions. He represented Jamaica abroad in several tournaments (Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela) and is also remembered for teaming with former principal of the Norman Manley Law School William Roper (a chess devotee and one of the founding fathers of Jamaican chess) to win the commonwealth Caribbean team tournament in St. Lucia in 1972. He also served as chief editor of Chess Bulletin of Jamaica and was also elected vice-president of the Jamaica Chess Federation in 1977.

Malaku Lorne Triumphant

B&D Wholesale sponsored six-round Swiss Open tournament was won by Ras Malaku Lorne with a score of 5/6, finishing unbeaten with four victories and two draws. Lorne, who just sat his "A" level examinations, has been one of Jamaica's top juniors for several years and is highly regarded as a future chess star. He handled the time control (30 moves in one hour with 30 minutes to complete) well and threw down the gauntlet to the veterans in the field by defeating Humphrey Gayle's Queen's Gambit Accepted in round two. He then proved his strength in round three by deploying the Caro-Kann to draw with Jamaica's highest locally rated player and six-time national champion NM Shane Matthews. In the final round he vanquished Gary Hew's Sicilian defence to claim the spanking new trophy, a gold medal and a cash prize.

Ras Malaku Lorne

Lorne finished point ahead of fellow junior Alain Morais who, fresh from his third place performance at the recent Sagicor Barbados Open, returned 4/6 to finish ahead of NM Matthews who ended on 4/6 after a shock loss to Gayle in Round 5. Another of Jamaica's top juniors Daren Wisdom finished sixth with an even 3/3.

Amateur Section

The amateur section for unrated or U-1800 players was won by UWI student Brian Pryce with 5/6 ahead of juniors
Ryan Blackwood (4/6) and defending national female champion Deborah Richards (4/6). Pryce, although suffering a surprising loss to 13-year old David Lai in the penultimate round, beat both Blackwood and Richards to assure himself of clear first.

The tournament was heralded as a success with many persons looking forward to next year's installment. The local chess scene will see a lot of action in the next fortnight with the commencement of the National Championships and the President's Invitational on 9th August, 2003 at the Norman Manley Law School. Both tournaments will be 9-round affairs and will end on 7th September, 2003. The pairings and drawing of colours will be held on 2nd August, 2003 at Preston Hall, UWI.

29th July, 2003
Ian Wilkinson
President, Jamaica Chess Federation

Posted by The Chess Drum: 30 July 2003