After four rounds of national chess finals...Cave, Perryman keep the lead

Twenty-one-year old Sean Perryman, playing in the national chess championship finals for the first time, has forged ahead after four rounds. The former national junior champion shares the lead with title-holder Christo Cave, both havng four victories under their belts.

Perrymanís performance so far is noteworthy since he is not only a first-timer in this elite company but he is also the youngest of the eleven qalifiers. The eleven-round contest still has some distance to go so it would be foolha rdy to make any positive predictions, but Perryman has unexpectedly emerged as one of the favourites, having beaten veteran Cecil Lee and three Fide masters, Frank Yee, Michael Pouchet and Mario Merritt.

Champion Cave has enjoyed a bit of luck but it is no surprise that the 13-time titleholder is also leading the pack. So far, Cave has disposed of new-comer David Christopher, Cecil Lee, Frank Yee and Michael Pouchet.

Within easy stri,king distance, however, are two former national champions, Yogendranath Ramsingh and Ryan Harper, both on three points.

The contest, therefore, has entered a fascinating stage. Should Cave or Perryman slip, they could find themselves either overtaken or bunching in the home stretch with these two ex-champions, or other rising players. An exciting finish might be in store.

A sharp tactical player, Perryman is one of the bright young stars on T&Tís chess horizon. His progress has been steady since he was taught to play the game at age nine by his Belmont neighbour Fiona Salandy.

While still at school, he began to hone his chess skills among the Promenadeís experienced blitz players and later he became active members of the Checkmaters and Palladins Chess Clubs. His love for the game first paid off in 1998 when he won the national junior title, repeating the performance three times afterwards.

Last year Perrymanís career took another leap when he outclassed the competition at the Barbados Open Under-20 tournament. Now he has come under the professional coaching of Cuban IM Humberto Pecorelli who is attached to the T&T Chess Federation, and with this engouragement the youngster is hunting for higher honours.

The finals, organised and run by the T&T Chess Association, are being played at the RHAND Credit Union building on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 4pm. Looking on at these duels over the chessboard and recalling previous finals, one is struck by a need that is not being satisfied, that is the poduction of a record of these top-class games, a tournament book if you will, for the benefit of the chess community as a whole. Surely all serious chess players would pay a small fee to have such a record

Already a number of games hold great interest, most notably some played by champion Cave whose end-game skill has been finely demonstrated in these encounters, providing useful lessons for all players, particularly our group of enthusiastic juniors.

Article by Carl Jacobs
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