Two-time defending champion Orlando Husbands has reeled off a perfect record to hold a narrow lead in the Barbados Chess Federation’s 2020 National Championship at the half-way stage.
Aiming to become the fifth player to achieve a hat-trick of national titles in the last 45 years, the 23-year-old top seed has a maximum five points in the nine-round event which pushed off last weekend at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael.
Two youthful players are close on Husbands’ heels with 20-year-old no. 5 seed Nitin Mahtani holding second place with four and a half points and 18-year-old no. 3 seed Kyle Sandiford occupying third place on four points.
Emar Edwards is in fourth place on three points and is followed by three players - Justin Parsons, Akeem Cox and Othneil Harewood - on two points.
Husbands, one of only four International Masters Barbados has produced, benefitted from a default win against Parsons in the first round before beating Louis Wilson in the second round last Saturday.
The defending champion defeated Adam Roachford in the third round last Sunday and maintained his winning form with victories over Harewood in the fourth round on Tuesday and over Mark Lowe in the fifth round on Thursday.
Husbands will face off against Edwards in the sixth round on Saturday morning before clashing with Sandiford in the seventh round in the evening.
In the absence of some of the island’s leading players, Mahtani and Sandiford have grabbed the chance to show their mettle and both defeated no. 2 seed Cox.
Mahtani, captain of the Barbados team at the 2018 and 2019 CARIFTA Championships, also won against Harewood, Lowe and Edwards while playing to a draw against Sandiford in the fourth round.
Sandiford’s victories were against Cox, Roachford and Parsons and he also drew with Edwards.
Ten players are competing in the Championship which is being played on a round-robin format – all the players face off against each other. They are battling for 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.
After Saturday’s two rounds of games, the action will continue on Sunday at 5 p.m. with the final round set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. (BCF)
Defending champion Orlando Husbands (left) defeated Mark Lowe in the fifth round to maintain his 100 per cent winning record. (BCF Pictures)
Nitin Mahtani (right) won against no. 2 seed Akeem Cox to hold second place.
Third-placed Kyle Sandiford (left) defeated Justin Parsons.