From Left: Mrs. Wilkinson, FM Warren Elliott, GM Alfonso Romero Holmes
NM Shane Matthews and Ian Wilkinson

Spanish international chess Grandmaster Alfonso Romero Holmes justified his billing as the favourite by winning the Magnificent Chess-UWI Masters tournament that took place in Kingston, Jamaica from Monday 16th  March to Sunday 22nd March, 2009. Holmes was unbeaten on 5.5/6 after defeating Barbadian FM Delisle Warner in the seventh and final round.  Alfonso gave up a draw only in the second round to Cuban IM Jose Luis Vilela de Acuna who finished in fifth place on 2.5 points. The Cuban, although winless, had only one defeat in round four where he missed a win and paid the penalty against Warner who lost the most games (four!) and ended at the bottom of the standings on 1.5 points, the same as Swedish FM Bengt Hammar who had three draws and suffered three defeats.


GM Holmes vs. FM Delisle Warner of Barbados.
Looking on is Shane Matthews (Left) and Robert Wheeler (Centre)

The Jamaican players performed very well to dominate the standings after GM Holmes. FM Warren Elliott and NM Shane Matthews drew their final round game to end on a plus score with 3.5 points each and tied for second place, while FM Jomo Pitterson drew with IM Vilela to finish clear fourth with an even score of 3 points. Interestingly, the Jamaicans only lost one game each and that was to the winner GM Holmes while all the Jamaicans defeated Warner!


The event in Jamaica was obviously a success attracting a lot of attention in the print and electronic media and with a number of chess fans and players plus members of the public coming out to watch the games and interact with the players. In addition, the players from overseas were treated to a tour of several parishes in the island and enjoyed themselves particularly when they scaled the aesthetic and fantastic heights of the beautiful and soothing Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, St. Ann on the rest day.

All the players were very happy to have participated in the historic event and those from overseas expressed delight with the conditions and hoped to return to Jamaica (“paradise”!) to play again, especially the winner GM Holmes who said that “the champion must be invited to defend his title”!

The tournament was staged by the Magnificent Chess Foundation and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Chess Society with sponsorship from General Accident Insurance Company Limited, Pulse Investments Limited, Supreme Ventures Limited, Guardian Life Insurance Company Limited and Subway. 

Ian Wilkinson

Chairman, Magnificent Chess Foundation

Cross Table After Round 7 (final round)

# PLAYER ELO T NAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 T
1 Jomo Pitterson 2242 F JAM X ˝ 0 1/2 1 1/2 1/2 3
2 Shane Matthews 2185   JAM ˝ X 0 1 1 1/2 ˝ 3.5
3 Alfonso Romero Holmes 2526 G ESP 1 1 X 1 1 1 ˝ 5.5
4 Bengt Hammar 2323 F SWE 1/2 0 0 X ˝ 0 1/2 1.5
5 Delisle Warner 2212 F BAR 0 0 0 ˝ X 0 1 1.5
6 Warren Elliott 2265 F JAM 1/2 1/2 0 1 1 X 1/2 3.5
7 Jose Vilela 2338 IM CUB 1/2 ˝ ˝ 1/2 0 1/2 X 2.5