Veteran Othneil Harewood held off a challenge in the closing stages and stood firm to win the Barbados Chess Federation’s (BCF) National Championship 2nd Qualifier.
After losing a top-of-the-table clash against Mark Lowe in the fifth round, the 68-year-old Harewood bounced back in the sixth round and sealed the honours with another victory in the seventh and final round when the tournament climaxed in exciting fashion on Thursday night at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael.
Harewood, the no. 2 seed in the absence of some of the island’s top-rated players, finished with six out of a maximum seven points, to win ahead of top seed Lowe, who had to settle for draws in his final two games.
Lowe was second with five points, while Adam Roachford narrowly took third place on the tie-break, pipping the Wilson siblings, Louis and Hannah after the three teenagers ended on four-and-a-half points.
Louis took the prize for the Best Under-16 Player and 11-year-Hannah was the Best Female Player in the first over the board tournament hosted by the BCF in the COVID-19 environment.
The stage was set for a thrilling finish as the leading four players battled it out on the top two boards on the last night of competition in the event that attracted 14 competitors.
Harewood, who went into the final round with a half-point lead, was confirmed as the winner after defeating Roachford, who started the contest in joint second-place on the tie-break after drawing with Lowe in the penultimate round on Tuesday night.
Lowe and Louis Wilson played to a draw on Board 2, leaving Lowe a clear second and forcing the calculators to decide the third and final qualifying spot after Hannah Wilson also managed a draw with Taiye Estwick on Board 3.
Harewood, Lowe and Roachford join the top three finishers from January’s 1st Qualifier – Kyle Sandiford, Emar Edwards and Akeem Cox – in the National Championships finals scheduled for October 10 to 20.
The final three competitors will come from the 3rd Qualifier which pushes off on Sunday and will run until September 19. The nine qualifiers will be joined in the finals by two-time defending champion Orlando Husbands. (BCF)
Othneil Harewood (right) defeated Adam Roachford in the final round to clinch the Qualifier. (BCF Pictures)
Mark Lowe (right) took second place while Louis Wilson (left) was the Best Under-16 Player.
Hannah Wilson, the Best Female Player, played to a draw against Taiye Estwick in the last round.