After 2 weekends of tough fights and close matches, we have three more national finalists. But it was close and we needed the last round and indeed the last game to tell us who the three would be.
Bowles, needing only a draw to qualify, almost did not qualify as Sears refused to draw and clinched the full point in another beautiful endgame. Sears had no choice since a draw was not enough to guarantee him a spot in the finals. Meanwhile Colin Knight, needing a full point to qualify, searched for a win against Duncan; but as many people know, Duncan is a fighter and in the end Knight could only manage a draw. That put him out of contention.
We also had 2 juniors with a chance to qualify as they came in joint 3rd with Knight and Bowles. Daniel Bhola, who defeated Leemoon and Fitzpatrick won his last game by default and reached 4 points. This put him in a tie for 3rd. CM Sean Yearwood also tied for 3rd spot as he took revenge for his older sister Shannon, by defeating CM Daryl Davis. If Sean had qualified he would have been the youngest player to ever qualify for T&T’s National Championships. But this was not to be.
In the end, Jones and Sears came in joint 1st, and Bowles clinched the 3rd qualifying spot on tie break.
Bowles deserved his spot as he defeated Yearwood and Knight in rounds 2 and 4 respectively, and having played almost all the top players in the tournament, had a much better Buchholz tie break score than Bhola.
The final standings can be viewed on chess-results.com
Congrats to David Jones, Frank Sears & Andrew Bowles. Special thanks to UTT, Valsayn Campus and to Mr. Russell Smith for assisting in getting the venue. Special thanks also to the chief arbiter, FIDE Arbiter Rawlson Paul.
Look out for the 3rd Qualifier which will be held in June. Details very soon.