Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 29th 2013 Contents A64
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 29, 2013
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Looking at the twelve players
who will compete in next month s
finals for the national chess cham-
pionship, DR sees a healthy divi-
sion among younger and older
On the face of it, this generational
mixture not only reveals the fairly
robust state of the royal game in
our country but it also makes for
an absorbing contest to decide the
T&T champion for the following
Each player, in fact, brings to the
event his own personal story and
his own capacity to make chess his-
Current champion FM Frank Yee,
to begin with, will be defending the
title he won last year, culminating
an impressive career which began
25 years ago during his student days
at Holy Cross College.
The question is, can Yee repeat
his title performance? Looking back
on his many notable achievements,
there is little doubt that the 42-
year-old champion has the discipline
and ability to do it again.
Among his laurels, Yee has won
both Knights Open tournaments,
represented T&T at five Olympiads
and participated in sub-zonals in
Venezuela and Equador where he
secured his FM title.
So far this year, however, the
UWI computer specialist has not
been very active, playing only in the
Paladins Open and Knights Open
without particular success.
Lacking consistent play, Yee may
not be in his best form going into
the finals, but there can be no
underestimating his ability to suc-
cessfully defend his title.
Six-time national champion FM
Ryan Harper poses a different ques-
tion. As the country s highest rated
player, will he succeed in adding a
seventh championship to his name?
Harper, of course, is the country s
most accomplished player, with an
impressive record of performance
both at home and abroad.
He has victories over a number
of GMs in international contests,
but so far the IM title norm has
eluded him, in one event by a very
Apart from his over-the-board
achievements, Harper has broken
new ground in the sport, becoming
a full-time professional coach and
publishing a chess magazine, Ace
Chess, covering tournaments in the
Caribbean and the wider region.
With such a comprehensive absorp-
tion in the royal game, Harper may
well be the best prepared player
among the finalists.
Marcus Joseph, 25, fulfilled the
promise of his early career by win-
ning the national championship four
The Fatima College boy came into
prominence by dominating the jun-
ior ranks, holding both the Under-
14 and Under-16 national titles and
later the junior championship for
three consecutive years. In his climb
to the top, Joseph performed con-
sistently well in open tournaments,
including two victories in the Pal-
adins Open. He also represented the
country at sub-zonal campaigns in
Venezuela and Bahamas and at the
Olympiad in Khanty Mansyisk in
Anderson Gordon, recently elected
president of the T&T Chess Asso-
ciation, is the fourth ex-champion
having another shot at the title.
Gordon excited the T&T chess world
when he won the championship in
1991 at the age of 18.
Unfortunately, he left the arena
shortly after to pursue his studies.
Now a business consultant holding
both the Bachelor and Master of
Science degrees, Gordon is back in
the fray both as player and admin-
The presence of national junior
champion Joshua Johnson in this
final contest must create its own
The Fatima College boy has not
only dominitated the junior ranks,
starting with the Under 10 title, but
also featured prominently in open
competitions and regional tourna-
Earlier this year, for example, he
won silver at both the CAC Junior
Championships and the Pan Am
Scholastic Championships. The 14-
year-old chess star now has the
opportunity to make chess history
by holding both the junior and open
Three other talented players,
Kevin Cupid, Esan Wiltshire and
Alex Winter Roach make up the
"young brigade" among the finalists.
Their achievements over the
chessboard at home and abroad
show they are all capable of upset-
ting pre-game predictions and tak-
ing top honours. Cupid, 22, former
Under-18 champion, has emerged
a specialist at rapid play.
He is a winner at the Sagicor
Open, but his most impressive per-
formance so far is his victory in the
second qualifier where he played
unbeaten against formidable oppo-
Wiltshire, 22, former Under-18
champion, topped the Under 20 cat-
egory at the 2007 Miami Orange
He scored well in events in Bar-
bados and El Salvador and was a
national finalist three times in a row,
placing fourth in one event. Winter
Roach, 28, has been a consistent
performer with the Under 20 cham-
pionship and Knights Open under
Cecil Lee, 71, is the fourth ex-
champion among the finalists. He
won the title in 1978 and, apart from
his many tournament successes and
Olympiad appearances, he holds the
record for longevity at the highest
level of the sport.
Ravishen Singh, 36, is the fifth
ex-champion in this final struggle.
He emerged on top in 2008 and dis-
tinguished himself at the Bled
Olympiad in 2008 where he earned
a silver medal on board four.
Like Singh, FM Mario Merritt,
36, has represented T&T at four
Olympiads. He has campaigned long
and consistently at the top but so
far the national title has eluded him.
Maybe this year he will make it.
Leonard Duncan is one of those
hardy veterans who is always
expected to do well.
Can champ Yee do it again?
FM Frank Yee
FM Ryan Harper
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