I'm absolutely shattered after an exhausting (but exhilarating!) trip to Jamaica. I wish there was a way for the boys to tell you about their own personal experiences. Maybe I'll ask them tomorrow to write their comments on this blog. Meanwhile, the final standings in U16 Absolute and U20 Absolute sections are attached. What do you think about our performance?
We've just gotten back to the hotel after the final round, an afternoon tour of Port Royal and Devon House, then the Closing Ceremony.
Because most of us are leaving on an early flight in the morning, I can only give the final scores.
Philip Hanna - 4.0
Sandeep Gali - 3.5
Chaz Garraway - 3.0
Point Total: 10.5 point, which is 50% of the maximum possible. That ain't bad!
Philip and his mom are staying in Jamaica for two extra days and are lucky enough to get to see Ocho Rios and Dunes River Falls tomorrow. After a tournament like this, the R&R is much deserved.
With each of our players starting off Day Two as black, Team Bahamas once again struggled. Sandeep was the only player able to salvage a half-point. It's clear that at this stage mental fatigue is setting in. The interesting thing is that the top boards in the U16 and U20 sections are the ones fighting longer and harder, yet they are having no visible problems with it. They play a 4-hour game, have lunch for an hour, then bounce right back to play another 4 hours. It's remarkable to see the discipline and dedication these guys have.
I don't recall if I mentioned it earlier, but there are a couple of titled players in the tournament. One is a FIDE master from the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's in the U20 section, and he's been getting beat up by the top Jamaicans. If my memory serves me, he's on 3.5/6 -- only 1/2 point ahead of Philip at this point.
In the U16 section, there are at least two players with a FIDE rating of 2000. There's a WCM (Women's Candidate Master) from Trinidad in that section and guess who's playing her in tomorrow's final round -- Sandeep!!! This is his big moment to shine, so I'm crossing my fingers for him.
We wish them all well going into the seventh and final round tomorrow morning. It's been a real eye-opener for us, and we now have a fairly good idea as to how we stack up against our regional comrades. It's clear that there's a lot of work to be done, but for sure it can get done if we try.
Signing off for the night...
Sandeep - 3.5
Philip - 3.0
Chaz - 2.0
Before coming to Jamaica, I was asked by FIDE to serve as one of the three arbiters for CARIFTA, led by International Arbiter Russell Smith of Trinidad. The idea was for me to earn a norm towards the FIDE Arbiter title.
On arrival, I was put in charge of the U12 section with about 90 players, while Smith and FIDE Arbiter Bob Wheeler of Jamaica are overseeing the U16 and U20 sections. I'll have to get the exact player count, but it's by far the biggest group that I have ever directed.
This important role has meant that I have to be one of the first to arrive to the venue and one of the last to leave, with very little time in between to watch our Bahamian players' games. Photo opportunities have been scarce too, particularly because photos are only allowed in the first five minutes of play which is when I've just started my own section's play. Now that I've developed a certain protocol with the U12's, and my assistants understand the standards well, I will try to take a few liberties over the final three rounds to capture a few shots and to watch our players' games more closely. I can't make any promises, however. Under 12's are an unpredictable bunch :)
Update: The U12 section has about 95 players in it!
The team got off to a rough start on Day 2, as both Sandeep and Philip lost their round three matches. Having been awarded a bye, Chaz was the only one to escape the morning session with a point. Then came the afternoon round, and like yesterday, the players rebounded. Chaz earned a full point against his Jamaican opponent; Sandeep and his opponent agreed to a draw; and Philip fought through another long game to win against Barbados.
The points for Team Bahamas going into the fifth round of seven are:
Philip Hanna - 2.0
Sandeep Gali - 2.0
Chaz Garraway - 2.0
Team Bahamas got off to a slow start on Day 1 with no wins in the first round. Sandeep Gali did secure a half point, however, after agreeing to a draw in a position that leaned slightly in his favor.
Things soon turned around, as the players gained their composure in the second round. Gali scored a full point with a checkmate on move 35, and Philip Hanna's opponent, faced with an imminent mate in their three-hour marathon battle, resigned.
The scores after two rounds are:
Sandeep Gali - 1.5
Philip Hanna - 1.0
Chaz Garraway - 0.0
Play resumes Saturday at 9:00 am Jamaica time (10:00 am Bahamas time) with rounds three and four scheduled.
Before boarding their flight to Jamaica, the Junior Chess Team had the privilege of meeting the Director of Sports, Timothy Munnings, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture, Calvin Balfour. These kind gentlemen expressed their immense pride in the team and wished the members success as they represent the country in the CARIFTA tournament.
Once we landed in Jamaica, we were taken directly to the Jamaica Conference Center, where the Opening Ceremony was about to begin. Several important government officials spoke, as did Ian Wilkinson, the long-time president of the Jamaica Chess Federation. The teams from six countries were called to the stage, with Jamaica's massive delegation introduced last. Of the 175 players registered, at least 145 of them are from Jamaica! Even more impressive was Mr. Wilkinson's declaration that more than 15,000 Jamaican students have been introduced to chess over the past 4 years.
A lot seems to be happening in Jamaican chess, and a lot will be happening for the Bahamas team starting today when round 1 of 7 begins!
The Bahamas’ CARIFTA Junior Chess Team will be leaving for Kingston, Jamaica this afternoon. We will try to keep everyone up to date with daily reports on this newly-created blog page. Show your support by checking in often to follow this historic team’s tournament performance!
Welcome to the all-new Bahamas Chess Federation blog page. There's a lot happening in the Bahamian chess scene these days and we thought that we would share it with you in an open and interactive format. We encourage you to visit often and feel free to express your views on anything and everything relating to chess.
Carpe Diem! - Seize the Day!