— Khan favourite for title
ANTHONY Drayton can no longer defend his title in the National Closed Chess Championship after two surprising defeats in rounds Five and Six at the Guyana National Stadium, in Providence, on Sunday.
The FIDE Master, who had lost to former champion, Taffin Khan, in Round Two, was beaten by Glenford Corlette and 2020 Rapid and Blitz champion, Davion Mars, respectively in their encounters.
Corlette, who is the dark horse of the 2020 competition (postponed from last year), only has one defeat to his name (against Khan), but he is yet to play against one of the front runners of the competition in Wendell Meusa. According to information from Director of Tournaments, Rashad Hussain, that game, a First Round clash, will be played today.
Corlette’s final game will be this Saturday against Loris Nathoo. If he manages to beat both of his final opponents (a tall feat) he will be just half a point behind Khan, who has to play Mars in his final clash.
Khan has been a dominant force in the eight-player final so far. His unbeaten run has earned him five and a half points in six rounds and placed him as strong favourite for his fourth Senior National title.
His drawn clash against fellow Candidate Master, Meusa, in Round Five and Drayton’s losses mean that the final is now is his hand—a win this Saturday hands him the title.
A draw can also propel him to championship honours, barring an unlikely dominant finish by Corlette.
If Khan loses and Corlette manages to win both of his games, then he would be crowned champion.
If Meusa wins both of his final games (against Corlette and Rai Sharma), a likely possibility, he would need for Khan to lose to force a playoff battle.
In their clash on Sunday morning, Khan said that the game was pretty even.
“The game with Wendell was a pretty safe game, it didn’t have anything much until the end. The end-game was a typical rook end-game, which is mostly draws.”
The 29-year-old added that although he is confident against Mars, who has never beaten him, he has no intentions of celebrating early.