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Comets win team title at scholastic team tourney

More than 40 students took part in the annual event
  • Philip Hanna Jr., right, was the top board one player. He finished with 4.0 points. He is shown being presented with his award by veteran chess player Warren Seymour.

  • Chaz Garraway, right, was the top board two player. He also finished with 4.0 points.

  • Aaron St. Albord, right, was the top board three player. He finished with 3.5 points.

  • Kelsie Thomas, right, was the top board four player. She finished with 4.0 points.

  • Bayview Academy’s team of Kiran Halkitis, Malik Sands, Jordan Francis and Xanthe Smith, won the top primary school award. At second left is Warren Seymour presenting them with their award.

  • Queen’s College’s team of Chaz Garraway, Nelissa Thomas, Kelsie Thomas and Nicholas Bower won the overall team award.

  • There was a big turnout of primary and high school students at the BCF’s Scholastic Team Championship. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANDRE WHITE

Published: Jun 25, 2013

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The future of chess in The Bahamas was on full display on June 15, when the Bahamas Chess Federation (BCF) held its Annual Scholastic Team Championship. More than 40 students representing nine teams registered for the event, held in the spacious pavilion at T.G. Glover Primary School.

The four-round competition pitted teams against each other in a Swiss format, with up to one hour per game. As per World Chess Federation (WCF) rules, players were required to record each move made except in the last five minutes of sudden death. The resulting suspense was palatable, as parents and teachers watched while their protégés sat focused and intent on outwitting their opponents in the mental battle for chess supremacy.

Defending team champion Queen’s College was a heavy favorite, returning with last year’s superstars, Chaz Garraway, Nelissa Thomas and Kelsie Thomas. This time they were joined by the school’s chess club president, Nicholas Bower. Seeking to dethrone them were two teams from C.C. Sweeting Senior High, two teams from T.G. Glover Primary, a team from C.W. Sawyer, a team from Bayview Academy and two teams comprised of a mixture of schools – the Free Agents and the Strategy Kings.

To everyone’s surprise, after two rounds it was the talented Bayview Academy Primary School team made up of Kiran Halkitis, Malik Sands, Xanthe Smith and Jordan Francis, that held sole possession of the lead, with Queen’s College, the Free Agents and the Strategy Kings hot on their heels. Bayview’s stiffest test would be in the third round, when paired against the formidable Q.C. Comets. It was then that the primary school’s lack of tournament experience showed. Queen’s College elevated their play to a championship level, dominated the match, and collected the full point to take the tournament lead for good.

While the Free Agents and Strategy Kings fought valiantly in the hope that Queen’s College would falter in its final round match against C.C. Sweeting Senior’s ‘B’ team, fate was not on their side and the mixed teams had to settle for second and third place respectively.

Several individual performances stood out. The undisputed game-of-the day was played by primary school students Charles Diggiss and Gabrielle Adiao. With both players in serious time trouble, it became a race against the clock for the first to find a win. Young Diggiss enjoyed a clear advantage in initiative, constantly pushing Adiao’s king to the edge of the board with checks, and with seconds to go on his clock, the six-year-old deliver a resounding checkmate as dozens of spectators looked on.

At the conclusion, trophies for the best overall performances on boards, one through four, were awarded by Warren Seymour, veteran chess instructor, to Philip Hanna Jr., Chaz Garraway, Aaron St. Albord and Kelsie Thomas, respectively.

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