Reigning Caribbean blitz champion Justin Blackman overcame top seed Martyn Del Castilho to come out on top in the first event of the Barbados Chess Federation’s new online Grand Prix Series last weekend.
Blackman, the no. 2 seed, defeated fellow FIDE Master Del Castilho in a top-of-the-table fourth round game and despite losing to Akeem Cox in the penultimate round, he took the honours after finishing with six out of a maximum seven points.
Cox’s win against Blackman paved the way for an exciting finish to the first event in the new series which is being contested under the short rapid format on an online platform given the existing restrictions on physical gatherings in view of the recent spike in C0VID-19 cases.
Del Castilho, a six-time national champion, finished second with five-and-a-half points while Cox, a former national Under-20 champion, was third with five points in the two-day event that attracted 20 competitors.
Blackman and Del Castilho went into the final round level on points. Blackman, however, was confirmed as the winner after defeating Louis Wilson while Del Castilho played to a draw with Cox.
Emar Edwards took fourth place on the tie-break, having finished with four-and-a-half points, the same as Julissa Figueroa, Nitin Mahtani and Melvin Terence.
Under the format of the six-event series, players are awarded Grand Prix points in each event based on their percentage score in each tournament. Blackman, therefore, gained 85 Grand Prix points, Del Castilho 78 and Cox 71.
The player with the most Grand Prix points at the end of the series will be crowned champion. There will also be prizes for the second and third place finishers, Best Female, Best Player rated between 1300 and 1599, Best Player rated between 1000 and 1299 and the Best unrated player.
The dates of the second Grand Prix event will be determined at a later stage. (BCF)
Justin Blackman took the honours in the first event of the new online Grand Prix Series. (BCF Picture)