Barbados will face off against Honduras when they make their entry to the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on Friday.
The 12-member Bajan team will also battle Nicaragua and Panama on the first day of action in Pool E of Division 3. Honduras and Nicaragua advanced to Division 3 after taking the top two places in their Division 4 pool last weekend.
Under the format of the inaugural event, Division 3 includes 50 teams divided equally in five pools. The top three teams in each pool will advance to Division 2.
The competition will be played using the Rapid format, which is regarded as the equivalent of a 50-overs-a-side cricket match and each game lasts approximately half-hour.
Barbados’ first match will be at noon with the second round scheduled for 1 p.m. and the third round at 2 p.m. The schedule will be maintained for Saturday’s games against Guatemala, Suriname and El Salvador and Sunday’s contests against Mexico, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.
Unlike the over the board Olympiad where countries enter separate teams in the Open and Women’s sections, the Online Olympiad is a mixed event with countries fielding one team comprising male players on boards 1 and 2, female players on boards 3 and 4, an Under-20 male player on board 5 and an Under-20 female player on board 6. Additionally, each team has six other players to choose from throughout the nine rounds of games.
Barbados’ male players include reigning double crown champion International Master Orlando Husbands, six-time national champion FIDE Master Martyn Del Castilho, former national champion International Master Terry Farley and FIDE Master Justin Blackman, the island’s most successful player at the 2018 Olympiad. Former national Under-20 champion Nitin Mahtani and reigning national Under-18 champion Aaron Haynes are the two Under-20s.
The youthful women’s unit is spearheaded by five-time national ladies champion Katrina Blackman and fellow Woman Candidate Master, one-time national women’s champion Julissa Figueroa. They are joined by four players under the age of 20 – multiple CARIFTA medallist and reigning joint national Under-16 female champion Vanessa Greenidge, current joint national Under-16 female champion Gaybrianna Moore, reigning national Under-20 female champion Kiarra Eversley and one-time CARIFTA gold medallist and current joint national Under-16 female champion Azaria Johnson.
Barbados’ players will assemble at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons to play their games.
Through an initiative from the Confederation of Chess for Americas, live steaming of the event with a focus on teams from the Americas region, will be provided on YouTube.
The Online Olympiad, which has attracted more than 1 500 participants from 163 countries, has been organised by the world governing body for chess in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (BCF)
Six-time national champion Martyn Del Castilho is part of Barbados’ 12-member team for the Online Chess Olympiad. (BCF Pictures)
Multiple CARIFTA medallist Vanessa Greenidge, who two years ago at the age of 13 was the youngest player to represent Barbados at an Olympiad, is one of six females in the team.
Note: Live streaming of the FIDE Online Olympiad with a focus on teams from the Americas region can be viewed by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavysChessChannel