International Master Orlando Husbands begins the defence of the first of his three national titles when the Barbados Chess Federation’s National Championship pushes off on Saturday.
Husbands, who is also the reigning national rapid and blitz champion, will battle nine other rivals in a round-robin format at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons.
The two-time national champion is expected to face his major competition from 2006 king, veteran International Master Terry Farley, FIDE Master Justin Blackman, Candidate Master Bryan Prescod and Kemp Lynch.
The nine qualifiers to face the 22-year-old Husbands were determined by the top three finishers in qualifying tournaments in January, June and July.
The other five qualifiers are Justin Kirton, Akeem Cox, Mark Lowe, Jonathan Shepherd and veteran Othneil Harewood, a replacement for Barbados’ CARIFTA captain Nitin Mahtani, who is out of the island.
A notable absentee is six-time national champion Martyn Del Castilho, who did not enter any of the qualifying tournaments.
Saturday’s action will feature two rounds of games – 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - and the championship will continue on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday before climaxing with another double-header next Saturday.
The National Championship will be played simultaneously with the VEXX Tournament, which is staged primarily for players who did not secure places for the former.
There are 17 players entered for the seven-round VEXX Tournament where the top three seeds are Justin Parsons and Cyprian LaTouche. (BCF)
Orlando Husbands is set to begin the defence of the first of his three national titles. (BCF Picture)