Round #10 Report - Ian Wilkinson (Jamaica)


After the end of the 10th and penultimate round of the 2003 Jamaican championships this evening in the rarefied intellectual atmosphere of  the Norman Manley Law School, the  final round tomorrow is set for a mouth-watering fairy tale finale. In today’s games NM Robert Wheeler, playing with the white pieces on board one, easily held the leader NM Duane Rowe’s Sicilian and the two signed a peace treaty after a tense middlegame.



On board two, the defending champion NM Shane Matthews, seeking a record seventh title, finally caught Rowe at the top of the standings by besting defending national junior champion Alain Morais’ Pirc in 44 moves after a gallant effort by the youngster. Both Rowe and Matthews are now on 8.5/10 and clash in the deciding final round where “Rowezolimo” the purple Fortis gladiator” will have the white pieces against the “Age Animo” magician, Matthews.

Will they reprise their exciting Sicilian clash in the 2002 championships where Shane weathered Rowe’s withering kingside attack by giving up his queen for two pieces and prevailed ? Rowe, like the great Martin Luther King, has a “dream” and  desperately wants to win to dedicate victory to his father who passed away on the 16th August, 2003. As Caesar said “iacta alea est” – the die is cast !!



On board three Ras Malaku Lorne’s dream year and run continued when, playing with the black pieces, he turned back NM Mark Holness’ queen pawn game. This was the last game to finish, having players and spectators rapt as the players gingerly navigated and hurdled the first time control with some degree of excitement. After the time scramble dust had settled Holness’ superior position had disintegrated and to the victor, Malaku, went the spoils. Malaku is now on 8/10, having won six straight games, and could conceivably tie for first if Rowe and Matthews draw. The young rastaman has clearly performed stupendously and is in line to become Jamaica’s newest national master. When this happens it will not be surprising to hear many members of his religious order shout “Jah Rastafari”! He has a tough task ahead of him as in the final round he faces the strong NM Jomo Pitterson who, on board four, dismantled Daren Wisdom’s Sicilian in a powerful performance. Jomo is now in clear 4th on 6.5/9.

In other games, NM Russel Porter outclassed Markland Douglas with the black pieces in a closed Ruy lopez and Bertram Scott won by default over candidate master Eton Chin who, on 0.5/10 (after defaulting twice) will add the proverbial “wooden spoon” to his kitchen ware. In other games in tomorrow’s finale, Porter in clear 5th on 5.5/10 has white against Scott who’s in 11th position on 2/10; Wisdom, on 5/10, has white against Wheeler, also on 5/10; Holness in 8th position on 4/10 has Black against Chin, and young Morais, in 10th  with 3/10, will have white against Douglas who is 9th on 3.5/10.


Defending national female champion Deborah Richards retained her title after her queens’s pawn game proved too much for the improving Vanessa Thomas. The eight-game match finished 5-1 after today’s sixth game. Richards will now turn her attention to the CAC junior championships scheduled to be held in Venezuela between 13th –21st of September, 2003.


After today’s 9th and penultimate round the President’s Invitational is also set for a thrilling finale tomorrow. Still perched atop the standings with 7/9 is the rating and tournament favourite Adrian Palmer whose Bishop’s opening was too strong for O’neil Charles.  To secure clear first, Palmer only needs a draw tomorrow against Samuel Lamount, the latter having the white pieces. This will be an interesting tussle as Lamount is the only person to have inflicted defeat on Palmer when the two met in the fifth round, the Portlander vanquishing Palmer’s Danish gambit.

On board two Sidley Matthews Jnr., Shane’s brother, proved superior with the white pieces over Samuel Lamount in a Giuoco Piano. Matthews, whose only loss in the tournament was in a hardfought Sicilian to Wilkinson in their rescheduled first round game played on 11th August, 2003, stretched his unbeaten streak in the tournament to seven games and is comfortably in second on 6/9. Tomorrow he will have the Black pieces against Mark Bowen whose Alekhine’s defence went down in flames today against Wilkinson. Bowen, like Charles and Lamount are all tied for 4th-6th with 3/9. Wilkinson is in clear third with 5/9 and has the Black pieces tomorrow against Charles.

If Palmer loses and Matthews wins, Matthews could still claim the title for the double round-robin Linares-style event on tie-breaks, while if Matthews loses or draws the result in Palmer’s game will be academic.  Wilkinson could still grab second place on tie-breaks if he wins and Matthews loses. All in all a fascinating day of chess is in store with the media and sponsors set to join players and spectators for the awards/closing ceremony at the end of the round.


                                                                            6th September, 2003


                                                                            Ian Wilkinson

                                                                            President, Jamaica Chess Federation