It was a tense playoff on Saturday, April 23rd, between title contenders Ethan Lee and Ricardo Narine, with each young player eager to take home the victory.
After a nine-round junior championship battle, Lee and Narine tied in the top position with 6.5 points each. Unfortunately, this meant the duo had to go to a playoff for the title.
Ethan Lee has been playing chess for over a decade, while Ricardo Narine has been in the sport for approximately seven years, and neither of them held a national title before this year. Narine is a former Queen’s College student who now attends the University of Guyana pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Lee is a former student of Marian Academy who is currently enrolled on the GOAL scholarship program pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering.
It was a tense back-and-forth over the board at the decisive play-off event, with neither player ready to concede the title without a fight. By random selection, 17-year-old Narine was placed on the white pieces against 19-year-old Lee on black in a 15-minute rapid match.
Lee is well-known for dominating longer game formats and demonstrated this by winning the match against Narine.
“I feel that my performance overall was good.” Said Narine after the match. “However, in the first game (15-minute rapid), I felt that I made a few inaccuracies which Ethan capitalised on.” When they went on to the 10-minute match with Ethan on the white pieces, Narine won, bringing the points to a draw.
“In the second game, I felt that the opening surprised Ethan, which assisted me in gaining a winning position,” said Narine.
This brought them into the third and final game of 5-minutes, where Narine won the match and the title. “In the final game, I corrected the inaccuracies made in the first match and came through with the win. Again, the time controls helped with the overall outcome of the playoffs. Ethan put up an excellent fight, making it all the more satisfying.”
Narine had an important life goal to win a Junior National Title since he started playing chess competitively.
After a few close calls with a defeat over the last two weeks, Narine has emerged victorious. “After my losses against Keron (Sandiford) and Kyle (Couchman), I thought that I was in for a rough tournament – but I pulled it together at the end and managed to come back. However, after the first playoff game, I felt nervous about losing 2-0. But I pulled it together and managed to reverse sweep.”
The playoff format consisted of 3 games, a 15-minute game, a 10-minute game and a 5-minute game, where two best of three decided the champion. This method has been consistently implemented to determine the National Champion for both Senior and Junior titles. Mr Irshad Mohamad supervised the play-off, FIDE Arbiter, Tournament Director and past President of the Guyana Chess Federation.