The Ministry of Tourism & First Citizens Asset Management sponsored SubZonal championship produced great drama in round 8 and set the stage for even more in the final round.
William Puntier showed why he is top seed by halting the progress of tournament leader, Sanchez Munoz this afternoon. Munoz replied to Puntier’s 1. e4 with the Caro Kann defense, but Puntier played the advanced variation and got to a position where Munoz had to do nothing but wait. When the time was right Puntier struck and defeated Munoz thus making a clear bid for the International Master (IM) title.
Unfortunately, Trinidad IM hopeful, Ryan Harper missed a key move to hold a pawn advantage and thus dropped a whole point by losing to Venezuela’s Marichal Gonzalez. This left Harper at 5.5 points of a possible 8. Harper’s only hope to become an IM in this tournament is to defeat Bajan Master, Delisle Warner who is on 6 points, and also aiming for the IM title.
The final round will therefore be a huge clash with IM Munoz playing Mora Moron on the top board, Marichal Gonzalez playing FM Puntier & of course FM Warner playing FM Harper.
Round 9 will also be a fight for FM titles. Allan Munro who defeated the Venezuelan Chavez Lazo this evening will be taking on Aruba’s Jasel Lopez. However a draw would be enough to guarantee both players the title.
Also fighting for the FM titles in the last round will be Dominican Republic’s Arvelo Gian, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Kevin Cupid, Joseph Gill and Marcus Joseph. Kevin, who drew against Marcus in round 8, will have to defeat IM Gascon Del Nogal in the final round to get the FM title. On the other hand, Gill, who defeated Trinidad’s National U20 champion, Vishnu Singh, will have to face Marcus Joseph. Only a winner in the Gill-Joesph will get the FM title so it will be a brutal but gentlemanly battle. Finally Arvelo Gian, who thwarted Hayden Lee’s effort to clinch the CM title in round 8, has to defeat Barbados’ Orlando Husbands to secure his FM title.
Everyone is invited to see the final matches at 5pm this evening at the Ambassador Hotel, Long Circular Road in Trinidad. Please note that for the closing ceremony, everyone is asked to be seated for 9.30pm. See you there.