Raphael impresses in Orchard Junior Chess Grand Prix

Kurtis Chong looks on as Christopher Raphael receives his Orchard Hamper from FIDE Master, Mario Merritt

National Under 14 Champion Christopher Raphael took top honours in the Under 20 age group section at the first leg of the Orchard Junior Chess Grand Prix held at Presentation College, San Fernando last Saturday.  

Raphael a form 2 student of St. Mary’s College playing in his first tournament since winning the National Championship in February ended the Orchard Grand Prix with a perfect score of 5 out of 5 to take first place. His toughest game came in the final round against Keron Cabralis of Arima Boys’ R.C. School who is also Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 12 Champion. Cabralis playing with the White pieces played the King pawn opening. Raphael responded with the Sicilian defense.  The game was closely fought until young Cabralis made an unsound sacrifice of a knight for two pawns leaving his Queenside vulnerable for attack. Raphael capitalized on this weakness to win the game on move 32. Jane Kennedy and Cornelius Ramcharan were first and second runners up with 4 points each.  Sixteen players took part in this section. 

Prithvi Ramakrishnan receives Orchard Hamper from Fide Master  Mario Merritt

In the Under 14 section Prithvi Ramakrishnan of the International School of Port of Spain from a field of 32 players won all of his games ending with a perfect score of 5 points earning first place. Ramakrishnan’s strongest challenge came from Alpacino Smith of St. Anthony’s college in the final round. Smith, who was the more experienced player, refused a draw offer from Ramakrishnan hoping to win by the clock when the time allotted for the game runs out. With one minute left on his clock to complete his game, Ramakrishnan played lightning fast moves promoting his pawn to a Queen and delivering checkmate to Smith within mere seconds of his sudden death time limit.  Alpacino Smith had to settle for second with 4 points with Joseph Gill of Fatima College in third place also with 4 points.  

Ramakrishnan receives his 1st place Hamper from Fide Master Mario Merritt

Prasanna, younger brother of Prithvi Ramakrishnan scored six out of a possible seven points and finished ahead of  22 players to take top spot in the under 10 age group.  Prasanna, a pupil of Dunross Junior School lost his first game to Kellee John of Christian Primary Academy who came in second with 5 points followed by Johnathan Chong of Holy Name Preparatory School also with 5 points. 

Participants at the Orchard Grand Prix in San Fernando

The tournament, sponsored by Orchard was the first in a series of three events that would be held throughout the country in support of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Foundation’s Chess train initiative in Port of Spain, South, East and Arima.