Taffin Khan plays undefeated at National Open Chess qualifiers


Candidate Master (CM) Taffin Khan remained undefeated in the Ram & McRae-sponsored National Open Chess Championship Qualifying Tournament.

The eight-round Swiss System tournament was contested between November 11-19 at the National Stadium, Providence.

Khan defeated Keron Sandiford in Round 7 and Loris Nathoo in a four-hour battle in Round 8. Khan and Nathoo both played a balanced opening and an incredible middle game.

Khan finally outshone Nathoo in the end game with accurate and decisive moves. Khan also claimed points from Isa Bremner, Errol Tiwari, Ethan Lee, Justino DaSilva, Roberto Neto, and Sachin Pitamber.

Second place went to 20-year-old Ethan Lee, who finished with 7 points. Lee’s final game ended in a victory against young Sachin Pitamber in the eighth round.

Current National Junior Champion Keron Sandiford placed third in the tournament with 5.5 points.

He lost to Taffin Khan in Round 7 but defeated 15-year-old newcomer Alex Benjamin.

In fourth position, Gilbert Williams also scored 5.5 points. His wins came against Tremusa Marshall, Shivanand Nandalall, Asif Rahaman, Nicholas Sakoor, and Rolex Alexander.

National Championship Finalists L-R Loris Nathoo, Rolex Alexander, Ethan Lee, Jaden Tayor, CM Taffin Khan, Keron Sandiford, Roberto Neto, Sachin Pitamber and Gilbert Williams missing Jusinto DaSilva

In fifth position, 13-year-old Sachin Pitamber demonstrated his ability to compete with the senior players by earning 5 points. He won a point by default in the first round and drew with Keron Sandiford in the second.

He went on to win against fellow teen Najeeb Mohamed and then against seasoned players Saeed Ali and Justino DaSilva. Pitamber drew with Gilbert Williams in round seven but lost to Ethan Lee in the last round.

Rounding out the top ten, Justino Dasilva, Roberto Neto, Loris Nathoo, Rolex Alexander, and Jaden Taylor occupy sixth to tenth places, respectively.

These top ten players will advance to the National Open Chess Championship to compete for the title for 2023.

The Chief Arbiter for the tournament was FIDE Arbiter John Lee, assisted by FIDE Arbiter Anand Raghunauth. The top twelve boards were live-streamed throughout the tournament thanks to the expertise of John Lee, who made sure that fans viewed the games in real-time.

The forty-one players who participated in the tournament included 29 juniors and nine females.

Seasoned players, including Errol Tiwari, Shivanand Nandalall, and Loris Nathoo, participated in this highly prestigious tournament.

Special mention must be made of the Region Three players from Qayyim Academy and lone Berbician School Teacher Julian Dey of Fyrish, Corentyne, who also entered the competition.

Vice President of the Guyana Chess Federation, Irshad Mohamad, presented medals to the winners. He noted that the tournament was the largest ever National Open Qualifiers he had seen and attributed the growth to the number of junior chess players participating.

Mohamad thanked the tournament sponsors, Ram & McRae, on behalf of the GCF and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport for using the National Stadium.

The National Championships will conclude in the next few weeks, giving rise to the 2023 Champion. The Grand Prix and National tournaments will start early next year to pave the way for selection for the Olympiad team in September 2024 in Hungary.

Chess players are asked to check the website guyanachess.gy for guidelines on qualifying for the Olympiad team.

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