Ravishen Singh receives his trophy from Coreen Cabralis, Secretary T&TCA.

RAVISHEN SINGH came storming through the second half of the 11-round national championship finals to realise his long-cherished dream of emerging the country's top chess player. In fifth place after five rounds, the 31-year-old law student ploughed through a formidable list of opponents to finish on eight and a half points, a full point ahead of defending champion FM Ryan Harper, Keron Cabralis and Marcus Joseph who took second, third and fourth places.

In this late run, Singh had a string of victories against Cabralis in the seventh, Frank Yee in the eighth, Marcus Joseph in the ninth and Frank Sears in the tenth. In the last round on Sunday, he conceded a draw to Joseph Gill.

Singh has achieved his objective after qualifying for the finals seven times, often finishing close to the top. But his success comes not only from persistence; it is also the result of his personal study of the game and the steady improvement of his skills.

Singh played chess at St Mary's for three years but began his tournament career in earnest in 2001. The following year he demonstrated his class by winning a Silver Medal at the Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia, scoring seven out of eight points on board four. This year he has firmly established his ascendancy by winning the national title and finishing the DeVerteuil Memorial Open on equal points, six, with winner Frank Yee.

Impressive performances in the finals also came from national junior champion Keron Cabralis and Marcus Joseph who had a perfect score up to the fifth round. Their place among the country's best is now well established and the chess community must now expect great things from these two talented youngsters.

The results: Singh 8.5, Harper 7.5, Cabralis 7.5, Joseph 7.5, Christo Cave 6.5, Joseph Gill 6, Guelmo Rosales 5.5, Cecil Lee 4.5; Frank Yee 4.5, Alex Winter Roach 3.5; Frank Sears 3, Hayden Lee 2.

In the Women's Championship Aditi Soondarsingh successfully defended her title with a perfect score of nine points. She defeated Javanna Smith in the postponed game, ending the neck-and-neck race between them.

The results: Soondarsingh 9, Smith 8, Melissa Pereira 7, Stephanie Hosang 6, Yanna Lopez 4, Jade Noreiga 3, Gabriella Johnson 3, Rhea Eccles 3, Aliyah Hamid 2.

Trinidad Guardian - Wednesday 8th, October 2008