Barbados’ top rated chess player Orlando Husbands starts his quest to complete a hat-trick of titles when the Barbados Chess Federation’s 2020 National Championship pushes off on Saturday.
The 23-year-old International Master is the favourite to win the nine-round event given the absence of some of the island’s top players who opted out of the three qualifiers this year.
While Husbands boasts of a FIDE rating of 2324, the no. 2 seed Akeem Cox is more than 500 points behind with a rating of 1819. The list of top five seeds is completed by Kyle Sandiford (1807), Justin Parsons (1754) and Nitin Mahtani (1729) and ten ten-player field is rounded off by Emar Edwards (1705), Mark Lowe (1653), Othneil Harewood (1603), Louis Wilson (1499) and Adam Roachford (1369).
In Saturday’s first round, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael, Husbands faces Parsons before coming up against Wilson in the second round at 5 p.m.
Husbands, who won last year’s title with a 100 per cent record and captured the 2018 championship by scoring ten and a half out of a maximum 11 points, is seeking to join four other players to achieve a hat-trick of national titles in the past 45 years.
Philip Corbin claimed a hat-trick from 1975 to 1977; Ron Buckmire won four successive national titles from 1983 to 1986; Kevin Denny achieved a record six straight championships from 1991 to 1996 and Martyn Del Castilho won four in a row from 2009 to 2012.
FIDE Master Del Castilho, the second highest rated player in the island, is among some of the leading players who did not complete in any of the three qualifiers which were won by Sandiford, Harewood and Wilson. Others opting out included International Master Terry Farley, FIDE Master Justin Blackman and Candidate Master Bryan Prescod.
The Championship, which will be played in a round-robin format - all the players face off against each other - is offering a top prize of $1 000 and a trophy with the second place finisher earning $600 and a trophy and third place $400 and a trophy. It will continue with the third round of games on Sunday with the remaining days set for October 13, 15, 17, 18 and 20.
Under the COVID-19 protocols for over the board tournaments, players will be required to compete in masks and no spectators will be allowed at the venue. (BCF)
}Orlando Husbands is aiming to achieve a hat-trick of national titles. (BCF Picture)
See full schedule in attached flyer.