NATIONAL Masters Damion Davy and Andrew Mellace shared first place in the 2012 National Chess Championships, which concluded at the weekend at Norman Manley Law School.
The tournament, which was the 44th edition, headlined with the highest ranked players in the history of the game in Jamaica competing in a new 24-player format.
Super National Master (SNM) Duane Rowe, International Master Jomo Pitterson, defending champion Damion Davy and FIDE Masters Warren Elliott and Shane Matthews started as clear favourites.
Pitterson and Elliott advanced to the top of the table with consecutive wins leading up to fifth-round victories over Adrian Palmer and Stuart James, respectively.
In the rounds that followed, both drew with Matthews and Rowe, and finally met in round seven where they settled for a draw to both claim five points.
National Master Andrew Mellace who has enjoyed excellent results locally over the past year, dispatched Duane Rowe in the seventh round.
This launched him into the joint lead and virtually ended Rowe’s chances of claiming his fourth title. Round seven action also saw Davy join the leaders by defeating record seven-time champion Matthews.
In the penultimate and most climatically decisive round, Davy and Mellace, who are both training partners, struck convincing wins over their higher-rated counterparts Elliott and Pitterson, respectively.
The ninth and final round ended quietly with draws on all the top four games, securing tied first place for Davy and Mellace on 6.5 points.
Matthews trailed with six points, while Malaku Lorne, Ian Wilkinson, Paul Brooks, Elliott, Pitterson and Rowe all tied for fourth place with 5.5 points.
A six-game tiebreak play-off is scheduled to be played between Davy and Mellace.
The National Women’s Championship, which took place concurrently, featured the top eight female chess players in the island competing in a closed round-robin format.
Krishna Gray became the first new Women’s Champion in over 10 years when she finished on an impressive unbeaten score of five points. Ariel Barrett, Melicia Smith and Hui Zhu tied for second place with four points.
The tournament was sponsored by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), the Spanish Court Hotel, the Norman Manley Law School, and the Magnificent Chess Foundation.