Who will win the national chess C/ship and what will he get?

Will it be Kriskal or Errol, Shiv or Learie? The answer to who will win the 2007 Closed National Chess Championship which starts today at the Ocean Spray Hotel will not be known until the third week in November when the competition climaxes.

This is simply because in order to be crowned national champion, the organizers the Interim Steering Committee for the Development of Chess have decided to stage double round competitions for both senior and junior players.

“It’s a rigorous tournament. We’ve used the same format that was used for the World Championships,” Errol Tiwari, secretary/liaison officer of the steering committee which was set up in July to help move the game forward told Stabroek Sport.

The double-round, round-robin tournament will also be held at the King’s Plaza Hotel and the Tower Hotel.

The tournament is a closed one in the sense that only players who have qualified in the qualification tournament held prior to this one can participate.

Former national junior champion Kriskal Persaud of Berbice will start as favourite for the crown simply on the basis of winning the qualification tournament.

Persaud, like the great Bobby Fischer, emerged from his self-imposed exile to top the field of qualifiers ending with six and-a-half points out of a possible seven.

Errol Tiwari was second to Persaud. Tiwari is an experienced campaigner, who is quite knowledgeable about chess.

Ronuel Greenidge has won more tournaments this year than any other player and should be right up there while Shiv Nandalall is considered a dangerous player who can beat anyone on his day. He, too, has won several tournaments this year.

Learie Webster is another player in with a chance. Webster has won a few tournaments this year and has easily been among the more consistent players always ending in the top three or thereabout.

Among the juniors Sherfia Ali, her brother Saeed, Taffin Khan and Cecil Cox are the main contenders.

My pick will be Sherifa Ali once she maintains her form. The eight-year-old warmed up for this tournament by winning the Oasis Caf

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