Exciting end to Orchard Chess
Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

MINISTER of Social Development, Dr Amery Browne and Alana Stewart of Nestlé (centre) with prize recipients of the 2008 Junior Chess Grand Prix.

THE third and final leg of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Foundation’s Junior Chess Grand Prix came to an exciting close.

Hours before the scheduled start of the first game, parents and junior chessists, proudly wearing their bright orange Orchard jerseys, began trickling into the Nestlé Sports Club in anticipation of the day’s events.

Sponsored for the past three years by Nestlé Orchard, the Grand Prix has become a regular feature in the calendar of local chessists, and novice and veteran participants spent the day competing keenly for one of several attractive hampers. The competition was so stiff in some categories that several places had to be decided by tie-break games. Scott Hackshaw placed first in the final leg of the Under-8 category, scoring six out of a possible seven points.

Scott Hackshaw (Left)

Also on six points was second placed competitor Rishon Ramlogan, followed by Justin Labastide on five points.

Rishon Ramlogan (Left)

In the Under-ten category, Mahendra Singh secured a perfect score of seven to take the top honours. Daniel Bhola placed second with six points and Jonathan Paul third with five.

Luth Gallemaso also secured five points but had to settle for fourth position due to the tie-breaker.

The Under-14 division was won by Vishnu Singh, who by not losing a single game, ended the day on the maximum five points.

His closest rivals were Yanna Lopez, Prasanna Ramakrishnan and Tanal Janwani, who each earned four points. Like his counterpart in the Under-14 category, Christopher Raphael won all five of his games to take the first place hamper among the Under-20s.

In second place was Jayson Paul, who walked away with four points. He was followed by three players on three points — Omari Waldron, Rafael Guerrero and Arun Maharaj.

Nevertheless, hampers were not the only prizes up for grabs as the results from the day’s events helped determine the overall winners of the Grand Prix, which had two other legs earlier in the year.

Winners in each of the four categories: Under-eight, Under-ten, Under-14 and Under-20, not only received trophies but also some quite hefty cash prizes.

In the end, the Under-eight division was comfortably won by Rishon Ramlogan of Curepe Presbyterian School.

Rishon Ramlogan- 1st Under 8

He was followed by Scott Hackshaw of Dunross School, Maria Gallemaso of Holy Name Preparatory School, Justin Labastide of the Holistic Primary School, Gabriella Johnson of Maria Regina Grade School and Ami Alexis of Holy Name Preparatory School, who placed second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

In the Under-ten age group, Mahendra Singh of Montrose Government Primary School in Chaguanas impressively took maximum points to place first.

Mahendra Singh- 1st Under 10

Jonathan Paul of Diamond Vale Government Primary School, Daniel Bhola of Princes Town Presbyterian Number 1 and Luth Gallemaso of Holy Name Preparatory School had to settle for second, third and fourth places respectively.

Adam Alexis of Holy Name Preparatory School and Emma-Marie Taleb of St Andrews School both ended the Grand Prix on the same number of points but after the tie-breaker, Adam copped the fifth place trophy.

Under-14 player Vishnu Singh of Presentation College, Chaguanas clinched the top honours in his division, scoring 13.5 out of a possible 15 points.

Vishnu Singh- 1st Under 14

Following him to take the second to fifth spots respectively were Prithvi Ramakrishnan of the International School of Port-of- Spain, Joshua Johnson of Maria Regina Grade School, Jarryon Paul of St Mary’s College and Tanal Janwani of Presentation Collage, Chaguanas.

Enzo Kinsiona of Holy Cross College earned the sixth place trophy ahead of Holy Cross Videsh Ramsaroop and Joshua Maraj of Diamond Vale Government Primary, who all ended the Grand Prix on the same points.

Meanwhile, Christopher Raphael of St Mary’s College maintained a perfect track record to take the top spot in the Under-20 category. Second place went to his school mate Rafael Guerrero, while Jayson Paul of QRC and Omari Waldron of Fatima took the third and fourth place honours.

Christopher Raphael 1st - Under 20

They were followed by Esan Wiltshire and Garth Williams, who were tied on four points.

The sponsors ensured that no one left the tournament empty-handed by preparing a bag full of Nestlé and Orchard goodies for all participants, parents, coaches and well-wishers. Speaking at the closing/prize-giving ceremony, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Foundation, Edison Raphael, explained that the Foundation was birthed out of a desire to spread the cognitive benefits derived from playing chess with others, upon seeing a change in his son after he started playing the game.

Alana Stewart, Nestlé Regional Category Champion for Juices and Drinks brought remarks from the sponsors. Playing on the words of Orchard’s tagline, she said that it was a perfectly natural choice for them to sponsor this type of event which benefits the youth in a society full of ills.

Nestlé’s sponsorship received high commendation from Minister of Social Development, Dr Amery Browne, who expressed his delight in the fact that chess is becoming so popular now that it is capable of garnering corporate support.

Dr. Amery Browne – Minister of Social Development

The minister accepted an invitation from the Chess Foundation to give a motivational speech to the participants in the tournament as well as their accompanying teachers and parents.

As a former chess player and national Scholarship winner who has achieved notable success in the medical field and now in politics, the Chess Foundation believes that Dr. Browne is an ideal person to inspire the youngsters to aspire and achieve.

In his address, the Minister highlighted the parallels between the skills honed in playing chess and those used in everyday life.

As a former chess player, who was in fact trained by Raphael, the minister explained, “Life is a kind of chess.” He encouraged players to slow down, be flexible, make their time count and always keep their final goal in mind, in both the game of chess and life. He added that as you could never get a checkmate in one move, so too in life, you would never be able to reach your goals in one move.

Testimony to the Foundation’s efforts to encourage the playing of chess among youth throughout the entire country was the participation of three players who made the journey to Trinidad from Tobago just for the tournament.

Chessists from Tobago have a lot to look forward to in the New Year as the Foundation and Nestlé plan to host a tournament in the sister isle, which would be the very first of its kind.

Tobago Players