Orchard Grand Prix chess closes

From the back row: Mrs. Allana Gomez, Nestlé Regional Category Champion for Juices and Drinks,  Vishnu Singh, Edison Raphael, President T & T Chess Foundation, Marc Clarke, Nestle's Events and Sampling Co-ordinator and Mr. Michael phillip fromer National Cyclist. Front Row Andre Sims, Isaiah Hernandez, Rafael Guerrero and Christian Ammon.

THE ORCHARD Junior Chess Grand Prix had its grand finale on Saturday. The finale saw the climax of a three-part series of events organized by the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Foundation where the overall winners were decided by an accumulation of their points from a total of three tournaments. A cash fund of $10,000 together with trophies and hampers from Nestlé were awarded to the first six places in each of the four categories, with additional special prizes to the top female players in each category.  The following are the top six overall Grand Prix winners for each of the 4 rated sections:

National Under 20 Junior Champion Vishnu Singh and Rafael Guerrero ended the three series contest joint winners tied on thirteen points to top the Over 1500 rated section of the Grand Prix. Singh of Presentation College Chaguanas and St. Mary’s Guerrero shared a $2,200 cash prize. Third was Jarryon Paul with 8.5 points, followed by Mahendra Singh (8), Adrian Fraser (6.5) Joshua Johnson (6).

Vishnu Singh, National Under 20 Champion

T & T’s Under 12 Junior Champion Christian Ammon of St. Mary’s College  finished ahead of the 19 players in the Under 1500 rated category, collecting 12.5 points and a prize of $1000. His school mate Jonathan Wilson ended with 12 points half a point short in second place. He was followed by Videsh Ramsaroop and Jonathan Paul who tied for the third spot with 9 points each and a three way tie between Rishon Ramlogan, Peter Sui and Daniel Bhola for the 4th to 6th place.

Christian Ammon (Left) National Under 12 Champion

Another promising youngster is Andre Sims of Fatima College who finished ahead of the 26 players in the Under 1300 rated category, collecting 13 points and a prize of $800. Second was Brian Dixon with 11.5 points, Dillon Kalicharan finishing third with 10 points and a three way tie between Della-Marie Walcott, Gabriella Johnson and Jabari Lambert each ending with 9.5 points in fourth place.

Under 1300 rated winner,  Andre Sims plays a blitz game Gabriella Johnson

In the Under 1050 rated section, Isaiah Hernandez of Richmond Street Boy’s Primary School edged out Seth Lalla of Diamond Vale Government Primary by half a point topping the field of 59 players and collecting a cash prize of $500. Hernandez ended the tournament with 19 points with Lalla second on 18.5. Third was Nicolai Birjoo with 15 points and Jadel Dixon-Harry fourth with 14.5 points. Gerard Sealy and Aaron Bernard tied for fifth place with 14 points each.

Isaiah Hernandez receiving his Hamper from  Nestle’s Allana Gomez

Special prizes were awarded to the youngest player, 5 year old Michael Taleb and to Krysten Paul, Maia Labastide, Safiya Lambert, Emma Marie Taleb and Maria Gallemaso the highest placed female players in their respective divisions who finished outside the main prizes.

Hours before the scheduled start of the final leg, parents and energetic young chess players, began trickling into the spacious Nestle Sports Club, Valsayn, in anticipation of enjoying another day of keen competition. The popular event ended with a prize giving ceremony which featured an address by former National Cyclist and organizer of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Festival, Michael Phillip, who emphasized the value of parents’ support without pressuring kids to win.

Mr. Phillip recalled the finals of the 100 metre race of the last Olympics and how relaxed Usain Bolt was at the starting line and his success that followed.  He emphasized to parents the need not to burden children with the demand to win a prize in addition to the pressures of the competition.  Children must be free of external pressures if they are to develop on their own and perform well.

Michael Phillip former National Cyclist talking to players

Nestlé’s sponsorship received high commendation from Mr. Phillip, who expressed his delight in the fact that Orchard supported the tournament for the last four years. In return he appealed to parents to reciprocate when choosing brands by supporting the brand that supports their children’s sport.

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