By Noelle Smith
Fresh from playing unbeaten and winning the Guyana Chess Federation Senior Qualifying championships Sunday at the National Aquatic Centre, Anthony Drayton, winner of last year’s Caribbean Chess Cup in Barbados, is eyeing his first national senior men’s chess championship.
Prior to his seventh round match against Ronuel Greenidge which he won, Drayton told Stabroek Sport that his goal for 2018 is to win his very first senior national title.
The defending national chess champion is the talented but temperamental Wendell Meusa but it is not clear at this time if Meusa will be defending the title he won the last time the championships were held.
In ending the tournament unbeaten, Drayton has established that he is the clear-cut favourite to win the Closed National Chess Championships which will be held in March.
Last weekend Drayton won all four of his games to end the seven-round Swiss System tournament on six-and-one-half points.
Two players Candidate Master Taffin Khan, himself a former national champion and Maria Varona- Thomas finished right behind with five points each.
Khan’s two losses were to Drayton and Greenidge.
Varona- Thomas, the top female player defeated former national champion Kriskal Persaud, Rashad Hussain and Davion Mars on her way to the second place finish.
The other qualifiers to contest the national senior Closed championships are Saeed Anwar Ali, Greenidge, Glenford Corlette and Loris Nathoo, all of whom finished on four-and-a-half points.
Ali after in indifferent start won all four of his games defeating Shazeeda Rahim, David Khan and Calvin Giddings. His fourth victory came via a forfeit.
Greenidge defeated Roberto Neto, Khan and Kriskal Persaud while Corlette won against Errol Tiwari, Giddings and Neto.
Nathoo’s victims included Neto and Corlette.
“The upcoming competition is expected to be a very competitive one because it will see the likes of the reigning national champion with him being one of the highest rated players in Guyana and very tactical, it would not be a walk in the park for many of the players,” Tournament Director Irshad Mohammed told Stabroek Sports adding that he anticipated a great tournament.