Guyana’s junior and senior chess champions are among the winners after the first round of the FIDE-World Chess Federation/Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) Umada Cup which is being held here at the Sleep in International Hotel.
Local players dominated the challengers’ category with seven wins. Senior National Champion Wendell Meusa led the pack with the first win for Guyana, defeating his local opponent Neto Roberto. Su Haifeng, the National Junior Champion followed his lead, beating his local counterpart Davion Mars while Kriskal Persaud defeated Avikaar Malgie of Suriname. Keith Simpson beat Guyanese Anthony Drayton, Glenford Corlette defeated Aditi Soondarsingh of Trinidad and Tobago; Ronuel Greenidge defeated fellow Guyanese Rashad Hussain; and Maria Thomas defeated Calvin Finkie of Suriname.
The other local players competing in the challengers’ category: Errol Tiwari, Trenton Bennett and David Khan, suffered losses, while Loris Nathoo was a no-show for his clash with Jamaica’s Andrew Mellace.
In another significant encounter, Ryan Harper of Trinidad and Tobago who is the highest rated player in the tournament, defeated Taffin Khan the lone Guyanese in the Open category. Other results in the Open category are Vishnu Singh (T&T) beat Roger Matoewi (Suriname); Orlando Husbands (Barbados) defeated Darvi Ferraras (Dominican Republic); Martyn Del Castilo (Barbados) and Malaku Lorne (Jamaica) got half a point each from their clash, while Kevin Cupid (T&T) and Christopher Guzman (Dominican Republic) earned a similar result in their game.
In other results, Esan Wiltshire (T&T) defeated Reyna Frijde (Suriname), Suriname’s Joel Frijde won against fellow countryman Ishvar Ramlal and Martin Mikel (T&T) overcame Alisha Jaipersaud (Suriname).
Earlier, the fifth edition of the Umada Cup chess tournament got underway, with the Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony making the initial pawn move against Haifeng to officially open the tournament, hosted for the first time here. Anthony was elated that the GCF has been able to accomplish this feat, in his remarks welcoming the players to Guyana. “We’re grateful that the organisers have opted to host the event in Guyana and he is confident that the players will enjoy the hospitality offered by the GCF. The tournament is a very historic one for Guyana. It’s the first time we’re having so many overseas players and it’s the first time we’re hosting the Umada Cup,” he said.
The tournament, set to conclude on Monday, will be contested in two categories: the Open Section and Challengers Section. Both sections will be played under the Swiss System for nine rounds and will be FIDE rated. The tournament was organised under the auspices of current president of FIDE, the world governing body for chess, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. A grand pay-out package of US$16,000 is at stake.
In the Open category, the winner will cart off US$2,500, while the second place finisher will get US$1,500 and the third, US$1,000. The winner of the Challengers’ Section is entitled to US$1,500, with the runner-up copping US$1,000 and third US$750. In the case of a tie, the sum of the prizes involved will be shared equally.