Magnificent Chess, the
new kid on the block, and chief sponsors Burger King
combined to produce the biggest and strongest open
chess tournament in Jamaica’s history with the
staging of the Jamaica Chess Federation’s 2007
Frederick Cameron Chess Open, a six-round Swiss
event that was held over two days on Saturday
December 15 and Sunday December 16, 2007.
The venue was the Jamaica Conference Centre, the
site of the International Seabed Authority, and a
record registration of more than two hundred players
made the event truly exciting. The tournament, named
in honour of one of the founding fathers of Jamaican
chess and a former president of the Jamaica Chess
Federation, finished on a bang with National Master
Jomo Pitterson producing a brilliant performance in
the final round of the Open Section to defeat the
celebrated international Jamaican-born grandmaster
Maurice Ashley who was playing his first tournament
on his native soil.
Heading into the final round Ashley was on 5 points
and needed only a draw to clinch first place.
Pitterson was on 4.5 points and needed to win to
ensure that he took the top honours. The Campion
College past student showed that his great results
in 2007 (including performances abroad in
tournaments in Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago) were
no fluke as he brought the house down, his victory
being greeted with tremendous applause in what was
fittingly the final game to finish in the
tournament. GM Ashley, who has sworn to help
Jamaican chess rise in the chess world, praised
Pitterson for his effort and was gracious and
philosophical in defeat, taking time out to hand the
winner’s trophy to Pitterson during the awards
ceremony. He said that his loss was great for
Second place went to Ashley while there was a tie
for third place with Barbadian FM Phillip Corbin and
Jamaican national masters Brandon Wilson, Shane
Matthews, Russel Porter and Geoffrey Byfield all
finishing on 4.5 points. Corbin came out ahead on
the tie-breaks. It was obvious from the beginning
that the event would have been one of the highest
calibre on local soil as in addition to GM Ashley
there were two Fide Masters, eleven national masters
and a number of candidate masters in a field of
approximately fifty players.
Apart from Ashley and
Corbin the tournament’s international flavour was
spiced up by the competitive presence of Barbadian
Allan Herbert, the chairman of CACDEC (a commission
established by the world chess federation to provide
assistance for developing chess countries) and
Trinidadian Edison Raphael the chairman of the
Trinidad & Tobago chess foundation. The Amateur
Section, with approximately seventy players, was won
by Kareem Wright and the Beginners/Unrated Section,
with more than one hundred players registered, was
won by Samantha Nelson.
President Jamaica Chess Federation (Dec. 18, 2007)
Pitterson Upsets GM Maurice Ashely in Fred
Jomo Pitterson scored an exciting final round upset
win over Grandmaster Maurice Ashely to take the 2007
Burger King Fred Cameron Open Chess Tournament over
the weekend in Kingston, Jamaica.
Grandmaster Ashely came second and has kindly shared
the attached game with his analysis. FIDE Master Dr.
Philip Corbin of Barbados placed 3rd, having lost
the penultimate round against Grandmaster Ashley and
drawing with Shane Matthews of Jamaica in the final
Having attended the tournament, I was most impressed
Grandmaster Ashley’s gracious demenour through out
the tournament, the way he carried himself, handled
uncomfortable situation of losing to Pitterson in
the last round but most of all his genuine interest
in the development of Jamaican Chess.
Jamaican by birth, Grandmaster Ashley migrated to
the US at the age of 12 and made chess history by
becoming the first black Chess Grandmaster.
Today Grandmaster Ashley still travels on his
Jamaican passport and is a proud chess ambassador
and role model for Jamaican Chess Players.
While in Jamaica, Grandmaster Ashley gave the key
note speech at the launch of the Magnificent Chess
Foundation where he recounted the positive role
chess has made to his life growing up as a Jamaica
immigrant in the dangerous inner city of New York.
His work with young inner city kids is world renown
and is one of the most often quoted models for chess
as a an educational and socio-development tool with
at risk kids.
Grandmaster Ashley is one of the most sought after
chess speakers and coaches in the US and shared with
the writer an exciting new project he has been
contracted to assist with, the introduction of chess
in the prison system.
Attached is a press release from tournament
organizer Ian Wilkinson of Jamaica plus a selection
Finally below is some advice from the Grandmaster
himself which I encourage all coaches and players to
take to heart.
There are no short cuts.
I wish you and your family all the best for the
season and, many glorious wins in the New Year.