Elliott Continues to Lead

The 2004 KRYS FINANCIAL SOFTWARE-sponsored 36th Jamaican national championship has become more intense with each passing round. 

FIFTH ROUND (13th March, 2004)
In fifth round action (both NM Mark Holness and FM Elliott had byes) a lot of blood was spilt on the battlefield. The veteran NM Robert Wheeler had his first victory after using the Sicilian to demolish Daren Wisdom in just 31 moves. Wisdom resigned when mate was just one move away.
Bertram Scott put up a spirited fight with the White pieces but fell to NM Shane Matthews who seems to be gaining momentum with each round. The teacher taught the student a lesson as NM Russel Porter faced his English Opening and beat his protégé Deborah Richards in 41 moves.
NM Malaku Lorne played the English Opening against NM Duane Rowe and although lucky to survive his middlegame problems (for example, Rowe missed 23…Bd3! -+), blundered with 66.Bxe7?? and ended up in a lost pawn endgame.
SIXTH ROUND (14th March, 2004)
NM Holness got badly needed rest and Rowe also had a bye as the commencement of the second half of the tournament saw players continuing to fight for points. Wheeler’s queen pawn opening was easily handled by Lorne and a truce was sealed after 20 moves. Porter used his English Opening to dismantle a crumbling Wisdom in 29 moves while FM Elliott continued his impressive winning streak, defeating Bertram Scott’s Sicilian Najdorf in 53 moves.
Undoubtedly, the feature match-up was between the defending (men’s) champion NM Shane Matthews and the defending female champion Deborah Richards. Shane played excellent chess with the White pieces and defeated a game Deborah in a Sicilian Kan which lasted 36 moves.
SEVENTH ROUND (17th March, 2004)
The tournament changed venue for the seventh round and was held at the Kaspablanca Chess Club headed by Markland Douglas, the tournament director and a vice-president of the Jamaica Chess Federation. Interestingly, this round, which commenced at 6 pm, was the only one scheduled to be played during the week. FM Elliott continued to have a firm grip on the lead using the Black pieces to dispatch Deborah Richards’ English Opening easily to move to a perfect 5/5.
Although drawing with Lorne who again chose the queen’s pawn opening, Porter maintained second place with 4.5/6. Rowe played the advance variation against Wheeler’s French defence and a peace treaty was signed after 34 moves. Rowe is in third position on 4/5. Shane deployed the Sicilian defence ruthlessly against a beleaguered Wisdom, the game lasting 33 moves. Matthews is in joint third with 4/5.
Bertram Scott pulled off an upset with the White pieces as he won his first game of the competition by defeating a shell-shocked NM Holness whose French defence went down in 60 moves. The points standings show Wheeler in fifth position on 3.5/6; Lorne, barely clinging to the sixth and final qualifying spot, with 3/6; Scott comes next on 2/7; Wisdom, pointless since the second round, is eighth on 1.5/6; Richards, still to taste victory, is ninth on 1/7 and surprisingly Holness is cradling the “wooden spoon” with 0.5/5.
In the eighth round, scheduled for Saturday 20th March, 2004, Scott and Wheeler have byes, Elliott has white against Wisdom, Porter has white against Rowe, Matthews has white against Lorne and Holness has white against Richards
With just three rounds left, time is running out for players who want to qualify to represent Jamaica at the 36th Chess Olympiad scheduled to be held in Mallorca in October, 2004.
The Fide (Olympiad) time control (90 minutes to complete with an increment of thirty seconds per move from move one) is being used.
The tournament director is one of the JCF vice-presidents, Markland Douglas. All games begin at 2 pm local time.

Ian Wilkinson, President, Jamaica Chess Federation 19th March, 2004