Bryan Prescod justified his top seed status to narrowly win the National Chess Championship 2nd Qualifier after a tense finish.
Candidate Master Prescod, no. 2 seed Kemp Lynch and teenager Nitin Mahtani all finished on six out of a maximum seven points when the four-day event concluded at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons on Monday night.
Prescod, a member of the Barbados team to the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia last year, prevailed on the tie-break on account of playing opponents with a higher tally of points.
Mahtani, captain of the Barbados team at the CARIFTA Championships for the past two years, took second place ahead of Lynch and the top three advanced to the National Championship finals which will be played from August 10 to 18.
There was an air of anticipation ahead of the final round which started with seven players in contention for the top three places.
Prescod was the first of the contenders to win, defeating Adam Roachford on Board 2, while Mahtani followed with victory against veteran Othneil Harewood on Board 1. Lynch, playing on Board 3, however, was taken down to the wire in a four-hour contest against Cyprian La Touche. La Touche, who started the round on four points, would have advanced to the finals if he had won.
The close nature of the battle among the top three players – Prescod, Mahtani and Lynch - was underlined by the fact that they all drew the games when they faced each other.
Harewood took fourth place on the tie-break ahead of Emar Edwards after both players ended on four-and-a-half points while six players finished on four points. They were (in order of positions) Neil Yarde (6th), La Touche (7th), Roachford (8th), Lawrence Depradine (9th), Kierra Eversley (10th) and Louis Wilson (11th).
Eversley, Barbados’ CARIFTA vice-captain, won the prize for the Best Female Player and fellow Queen’s College student Wilson was the Best Under-16 Player.
Twenty-four players contested the event that followed January’s 1st Qualifier where Akeem Cox, Mark Lowe and Jonathan Shepherd took the top three positions.
The 3rd Qualifier will be played from July 13 to 20 and is expected to feature a few leading players, including six-time national champion Martyn Del Castilho, fellow FIDE Master Justin Blackman and International Master Terry Farley.
The Barbados Chess Federation’s 2019 calendar will continue with the 2nd Barbados Scholastics Championships (Under- 11, Under-15, Under-17) on June 29 and 30 at Harrison College. (BCF)
Bryan Prescod (right) won the qualifier on a tie-break ahead of Nitin Mahtani (left). (BCF Pictures)
Kemp Lynch (right) took third place, while Emar Edwards was fifth.
Barbados Chess Federation President Allan Herbert (second right) and President of the Confederation of Chess for Americas Jorge Vega (second left) observing the game between champion Bryan Prescod (right) and Best Under-16 Player Louis Wilson.