Caissa in Jamaica

by ChessBase
6/4/2011 – Chess in the tropics or more isolated parts of the world can be harder to come by, but love of the game can go a long way. In Jamaica, they recently brought GM Timoshenko for a simul, shorty after which a qualifier for the Jamaican champ-ionship took place, won by recently-arrived Denton Cockburn and JCF President, Ian Wilkinson. Here is the enthusiastic report by Ian Wilkinson.

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Clemency, Jamaican hospitality or both?

By Ian Wilkinson

The day, Wednesday April 6, 2011 will go down in the annals of Jamaica's sporting history as a great day for the beautiful Caribbean island of "wood and water". The scribes will record that it was on this day that Ukrainian Grandmaster Georgiy Tymoshenko (or Georgy Timoshenko) conducted a simultaneous exhibition at the headquarters of the Magnificent Chess Foundation (MCF) at 10 Swallowfield Road, Kingston 5, St. Andrew, Jamaica in the West Indies.

Although organised by the MCF staff and Jamaican International Master (IM) Jomo Pitterson with just a few days' notice, the event was a massive success with scores of persons including chess players, parents and spectators crowding the venue to participate in, or watch, the proceedings. There was good media coverage about the event with live radio interviews by me and GM Timoshenko and televison interviews by "Timo" and Jomo.

There were quite a few very interesting games among the twenty-nine (29) boards as the man from Kiev, the country of the 2006 and 2010 World Chess Olympiad champions, battled against many of the creme de la creme of Jamaica's junior players and some senior players including record nine-time Jamaican Women's champion WFM Deborah Richards and former national junior champions National Master Brandon Wilson and National Master Damian Davy. In the final analysis "Timo" ended unscathed only giving up four draws against yours truly, rising junior Shreyas Smith, Paul Brooks and former Jamaican women Chess Olympian Claire Clarke-Grant, including a couple of games where players had to leave and he graciously acquiesced to share the spoils.

In the game under review I decided that although my adversary had the title, the glitz and the glamour, I would fight tenaciously. It proved to be a very interesting encounter and, hopefully, one that will be of use to chess players and theoreticians locally and internationally.

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The Visitor and the President joint first

By Ian Wilkinson

Denton Cockburn, the Jamaican-born Canadian rating favourite, Jamaica Chess Federation President (JCF), Ian Wilkinson, Zachary Ramsay and Michael Diedrick each scored 4/6 to share first place in the JCF national chess championship qualifier held May 21 and 22 at the Half Way Tree Entertainment Centre in the heart of the Jamaican capital.

Cockburn, playing his first event in his native country, defeated Michael Diedrick, Melisha Smith and Peter Thomas, respectively, and had draws against Wilkinson and Ramsay. In the final round, however, he suffered a crushing defeat to the journeyman and underdog Markland Douglas to dash his hopes of winning the event outright.

The tournament, sponsored by Burger King, also saw the rapidly improving 14 year-old Shreyas Smith being the top junior while Melisha Smith was the top female player.

The next event on the JCF calendar is the widely anticipated Robert Wheeler Open set for May 28 and 29 at the National Housing Trust Car Park, Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston. All roads lead to this tournament which is the last chance for players to qualify for the 2011 Jamaica Chess Championships.

Here are the most exciting games of the event.

Game one: A dog war against "Zacalov"!

Zachary "Zacalov" Ramsay is undoubtedly one of the "finds" of Jamaican chess in recent years. A unique talent, he combines his passion for the sport with great work ethic and tremendous fighting spirit, making him a formidable opponent. One of the "unofficial masters" in Jamaica, although in medical school his love for the "king of games" still sees him finding time to play competitively including the current national qualifier. We have had some bruising, uncompromising battles in the past exchanging wins on more than one occasion with a 70-move stalemate in our history, I had no doubt that this clash was going to see fireworks!

Game two: "Dougnik" checkmates the favorite in the game of the tournament!

After a tough first half, Markland "Dougnik" Douglas played well in the second half of a tournament held to give players a chance to qualify for the 2011 Jamaica (national) Chess Championship. The veteran player produced an excellent game in the final round to defeat the rating favourite Denton Cockburn (pronounced "COE-BURN") who was playing his first chess tournament in Jamaica. Cockburn, Jamaican-born but living in Canada, had played confidently and solidly throughout the event notching wins in the process against Michael Diedrick, Melisha Smith and Peter Thomas, respectively. He also had draws against Ian Wilkinson and Zachary Ramsay to remain unbeaten on 4.0/5 entering the final round but then he met "Dougnik". The veteran player thwarted Cockburn's chances of winning the event outright by recording a famous win after sacrificing two rooks in a thrilling Sicilian Najdorf. Enjoy!

Denton Cockburn in 3rd round action against Melisha Smith

Game three: An exciting Sicilian against "Dougnik"

After a hardfought draw in the first round, with the black pieces, against the rating favourite (2226) Jamaican-Canadian Denton Cockburn, I decided to press very hard against my long-time adversary Markland "Dougnik" Douglas. Douglas suffered a tense loss in the first round in a difficult game against the second rating favourite, Candidate Master Zachary Ramsay, after arriving roughly forty minutes late for that game and seemed ready to fight.

Click for full-page replay or download PGN – you can also replay the game in this window.
Note that in the replay window below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

About the author

Ian Wilkinson is the president of the Jamaican Chess Federation and has led Jamaican delegations to five consecutive World Chess Olympiads (2002-2010). He was recently elected president of the Jamaican Bar Association.

He is also a member of FIDE’s Ethics Commission (the “World Chess Court”) and sat on the tribunal, chaired by Italian Supreme Court Judge Roberto Rivello, in July 2007 in Greece when a decision was made on the Vladimir Kramnik-Veselin Topalov “toiletgate” affair.

From an additional chess perspective, Wilkinson established the Magnificent Chess Foundation three and a half years ago and has used this entity since to teach chess to thousands of children in Jamaican schools.

Copyright ChessBase

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