TWO of the favourites for the title at the Guyana Chess Federation’s 2020 National Closed Chess Championship final started their opening round on Saturday afternoon with victories.
FIDE Master and defending champion, Anthony Drayton and former champion and Candidate Master, Taffin Khan, made relatively light work of their opponents at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence. Eight of Guyana’s top players are contesting the premier chess event, which was postponed from last year. The event is scheduled to be played over seven rounds before a winner is declared this month. Drayton won against veteran player, Rai Sharma, while Khan got the better of another seasoned player, Errol Tiwari. The other game played on the opening day was a draw between Loris Nathoo and 2020 Rapid and Blitz National Champion, Davion Mars.
The Wendell Meusa (another favourite) and Glenford Corlette clash has been postponed to Tuesday.
Drayton opted to start with the Queen’s Gambit opening and by eight moves into the game, he had Sharma’s bishops and the ascendency.
“My first game in the championships against Rai Sharma wasn’t that difficult even though it finished in 46 moves.”
Luckily for Drayton, Sharma is better at rapid chess due to his quick plays, which resulted in him missing a blunder made by the defending champion at move 16, which could have swung the game in a different direction.
“In the coming matches, I will have to keep my focus to be able to regain my title because the other players wouldn’t be so kind to miss an opportunity like that,” Drayton added.
Khan opted to play the Closed Sicilian Variation, and Tiwari kept it close until move 16, but he missed a combination, which resulted in him losing his Queen (his prime attacking piece). “After that, I just followed basic chess,” Khan noted.
Ten players had qualified for the event, but former national schools champion, Saeed Ali, and Justino DaSilva opted out due to work commitment.
The 2021 Closed Chess Championship Qualifiers and final are scheduled for the second half of the year.