FM Ryan Harper gives T&T update
Trinidad Trinidad Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago's  season is in full gear and the qualifying tournaments for the National Championship have begun. Trinidad's defending champion FM Ryan Harper provided The Chess Drum with the details of the championship cycle and the participants. As the defending champ, Harper gets an automatic berth, but he describes the cycle as follows:

"There are three qualifiers in Trinidad from which three people qualify for the finals from each qualifier. Then there is one qualifier in Tobago from which two qualify for the finals. So far two qualifiers have taken place and the third one is in Trinidad is taking place right now. I am not sure if the one in Tobago is talking place right now but it might be, otherwise it will follow after this 3rd qualifier in Trinidad."

FM Ryan Harper

FM Ryan Harper

Results for the 1st qualifier saw Mario Merritt winning with Frank Yee and Cecil Lee also qualifying in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. In the 2nd qualifier John Raphael claimed 1st while Jerome Joseph (a returning chess enthusiast) and Kirby Hope went through. The 3rd qualifier is in progress and features Ravishen Singh, an Olympiad silver medallist and was one of the recent recipients of the Trinidad "Sportsmen of the Year" award.  Former National Champion Christo Cave, is also participating in the 3rd qualifier, but Olympian Yogi Ramsingh has opted not to participate this year.

Despite the fact that both Cave and Singh have been deemed the favorites, both have been deterred by
Andrew Bowles Cave drawing and Singh losing! Singh also drew with Ian Ali. Harper assesses the strange state of affairs in the 3rd qualifier:

"Andrew Bowles as of last year stepped up his level of play a lot, he drew with Cave in the National Finals after throwing away his chance of winning the game. Currently on three points out of three rounds is David Jones. He is a well known chess enthusiast in Trinidad; he was our representative for Trinidad and Tobago in the FIDE meetings which took place in Slovenia at the Olympiad."

The National Championship will commence on the 10th of May and the 1st prize will be TT$2500. This year the championship will be held concurrently with the "Knights Open," a tournament of historic significance for Trinidadian chess players. Those who do not qualify for Nationals will certainly partake in this traditional event.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 8 April 2003

Trinidadian Men's Team. Copyright  Jerry Bibuld, 2002.


(from left to right) FM Ryan Harper (Bd. 1), Yogi Ramsingh (Bd. 2), Christo Cave (Bd. 3). (middle row, left to right) FM Mario Merritt (Bd. 4), Ravishen Singh (Bd. 5), John Raphael (Bd. 6). (back) NM Cecil Lee (captain).