FIDE Master Drayton tops National Open Chess qualifiers

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FIDE Master Anthony Drayton has proven once again that he is a force to reckon with over the chessboard.

Drayton emerged as winner of the 2024 National Open Chess Qualifiers, which was sponsored by Readymix Concrete, thereby securing his place in the upcoming national championship.

The victory has made him a front-runner for the overall title, which is currently held by Candidate Master Taffin Khan.

FIDE Master Drayton racked up six points out of a possible seven, placing him in the top position of the 40 players who participated in the competition held over the last three weekends.

Placing second was Justino Da Silva, also on six points, but due to the tie-break systems in place, he came in second to Drayton.

Roberto Neto secured third place with 5.5 points, despite missing the first round. Candidate Master Ronuel Greenidge, Keron Sandiford, Sachin Pitamber and Loris Nathoo, all finished on five points, placing in positions fourth to seventh in that order.

Kyle Couchman and Ethan Lee ended with 4.5 points each, earning them positions eight and nine.

The tournament was not without heroic displays coming from some junior players who fought to dislodge their seasoned counterparts.

From left: Justino Da Silva, Roberto Neto, Ronuel Greenidge, Keron Sandiford, Sachin Pitamber, Loris Nathoo, Kyle Couchman and Ethan Lee

Drayton drew his match with double-titled Under-14/Under-16 champion Sachin Pitamber in a tense Rook and pawn endgame.

Pitamber also drew with Loris Nathoo.

Justino Da Silva, second place qualifier, lost his game to Under-14 girls’ Champion Aditi Joshi. Joshi also drew with seventh place qualifier Loris Nathoo.

Reigning Junior Champion Keron Sandiford also salvaged a draw with the more experienced Candidate Master Ronuel Greenidge.

These top nine players have qualified to challenge Candidate Master Taffin Khan, the reigning Open Chess Champion, in the 2024 National Open Chess Championship starting on June 1.

Other notable performers were Gilbert Williams, Shiv Nandalall, and Jaden Taylor, who also gained 4.5 points.

Aditi Joshi, Ricardo Narine, Matthew Singh, Ciel Clement, Rashad Hussain, and Aquilani Swaminadha all ended on four points.

The tournament was played at the School of the Nations and supervised by FIDE Arbiters John Lee, Anand Raghunauth and Irshad Mohamad.

This qualifying tournament will provide much-needed Grand Prix points to the top players who are vying for a chance to qualify for the Guyana team for the 45th Chess Olympiad in Hungary later this year.

The upcoming Championship and Grand Prix 4 will also add points to the players depending on their performances.

Executives of the Guyana Chess Federation wish to thank Readymix Concrete for sponsoring the tournament and the School of the Nations for providing the venue.

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