Top seed Justin Parsons has marched to a 100 per cent winning record to establish himself as the front-runner at the half-way point of the Barbados Chess Federation’s (BCF) National Championship 3rd Qualifier.
The 23-year-old Parsons, a former National Under-20 champion, has scored four successive victories, including a key win in a top-of-the-table clash against no. 2 seed Nitin Mahtani at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael last Saturday night.
Both players went into the game with unblemished records, and Parsons’ win has made him the favourite to win the Qualifier with three rounds of games remaining.
Five players follow Parsons on three points with Mahtani occupying second place on the tie-break. The youthful trio of Louis Wilson, Rory Prescod and Hannah Wilson and veteran Cyprian La Touche also have three points to set the stage for a fierce battle to determine the top three qualifiers for next month’s finals.
When the tournament pushed off last week Saturday, Parsons opened with a win against Tarquin Clark and followed up with victories in the second round against Prescod and in the third round against La Touche.
Parsons will next meet Hannah Wilson when the Qualifier continues on Monday with fifth round games.
The event, the second hosted by the BCF in the COVID-19 environment, has attracted 19 competitors. It follows the 2nd Qualifier where veteran Othneil Harewood, the no. 2 seed, secured top spot ahead of no. 1 seed Mark Lowe with Adam Roachford finishing third.
The 1st Qualifier, which was played in January, saw honours going to Kyle Sandiford ahead of Emar Edwards and Akeem Cox.
The nine qualifiers will aim to dethrone two-time defending champion Orlando Husbands in the National Championship finals scheduled for October 10 to 20.
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)
Justin Parsons (right) defeated Nitin Mahtani in a top-of-the-table fourth round game. (BCF Pictures)
Louis Wilson (right), playing here against Tarquin Clark in the fourth round, is one of five players in joint second on three points.