Veteran Othneil Harewood has reeled off a perfect streak to take the lead at the half-way stage of the Barbados Chess Federation’s (BCF) National Championship 2nd Qualifier.
The 68-year-old Harewood has scored four successive victories to maintain a 100 per cent winning record in the first over the board tournament hosted by the BCF in the COVID-19 environment.
Harewood, the no. 2 seed in the absence of some of the island’s top-rated players, started the tournament with a victory over youthful Hannah Wilson when the event pushed off last week Saturday at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael.
He sustained his winning run throughout the week by completing wins against Hannah’s older brother, Louis, Taiye Estwick and Cyprian La Touche.
Harewood, the first president of the BCF when the Federation was established in 1981, heads the standings with a maximum four points and his followed by three contenders on three points – Louis Wilson, Mark Lowe and Adam Roachford.
The top five is completed by La Touche, who is on two-and-a-half points.
Harewood will look to maintain his winning streak when he faces off against top seed Lowe in the fifth round of games on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. The sixth round will be played on Tuesday with the seventh and final round set for Thursday.
The event has attracted 14 competitors and the top three finishers will advance to the National Championship finals scheduled for October 10 to 20. The final three qualifiers will come from the 3rd Qualifier which will be contested from September 6 to 19. The nine qualifiers will attempt to dethrone two-time defending champion Orlando Husbands.
Special COVID-19 protocols have been established for the Qualifiers which require players to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks on entering the venue.
Additionally, spectators are not allowed but the BCF is providing live streaming of the event to allow fans to follow the games in real time. (BCF)
Othneil Harwood (left) started the tournament with a win against Hannah Wilson and has a perfect record after four rounds. (BCF Pictures)
Mark Lowe (right), one of three players in joint second, battling Cyprian La Touche in the third round.