This year’s edition will feature a variety of top local senior, female and junior players, some of which will use this tournament as preparation for the National Finals campaign (October). FIDE Masters, Mario Merritt and Frank Yee are favoured to take the senior’s division. Merritt, an attorney is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago five-member team that will be competing in the World Olympiad, carded for August 27 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Meanwhile, Yee is a network administrator and has already qualified for the National Finals. Previously, Yee won this tournament in 2009. Last year’s champion, Allan Munroe is currently overseas but is also hopeful to be back in time to defend his coveted title.
Dev Soondarsingh and Esan Wiltshire are also budding players capable of taking home the Lucozade challenge trophy. Both have booked their place among the eleven qualifiers for the National Finals.
Expected to be among the finalists in the juniors division are last year’s runner-up and joint national Under-18 champion, Vishnu Singh of Presentation College, Chaguanas and national Under-14 champion Joshua Johnson of Fatima College. Both youngsters have been playing consistently and will not be taken lightly at this year’s competition. Johnson has also made it to this years’ Finals.
Heading the list of female players is seven-time national women’s champion, Aditi Soondarsingh. The experienced player will also lead the national female team (five players) to the World Olympiad. Other team members vying for top honours will be are Gabriella Johnson and Nekeilla Chuniesingh. National girls Under-10 champion, Shemilah James, Najarah Rahaman , Tyler-Marie Mungal and Danielle Cadogan are also expected to create some major upsets in this division.
The tournament will be a seven-round Swiss format. Two matches will be played on each day starting on Tuesday with the third to seventh rounds continuing on consecutive Saturdays. The winner in the Open Section will receive the Lucozade Challenge Trophy and the top Junior will get the Prakash Persad Trophy. They will also receive cash prizes.
The Lucozade Open Chess tournament has organised and spearheaded by Paladins Chess Club. Interested players can contact Bhisham Soondarsingh (761-7091) or Andrew Bowles (741-3982).