FIDE Master Alan-Safar Ramoutar, a student of Naparima College, led a successful 26-member TT team at the Carifta Chess Championships, in Curacao recently, playing unbeaten in the Under-16 division for his fourth consecutive gold medal at the annual event.
Ramoutar earned 6.5 points from a possible seven, finishing ahead of Barbadian Yeshua Hill, Jamaican Darren McKennis and Virgil Kartodikromo of Suriname, all of whom closed on 5.5 points.
The TT team closed in second place overall. Jamaica won the event, while Suriname took third and Barbados fourth. The national delegation was supported by parents and their coach, FIDE instructor and Candidate Master Dev Soondarsingh.
“I am so proud of the team,” said TT Chess Association (TTCA) president, Sonja Johnson, upon the team’s return from Curacao.
“This is such good news for TT chess. The players were focused and understood their roles and this led to a very solid team performance.”
Twelve-year-old St Augustine Girls’ High student, Zara La Fleur, who won the Under-12 division at last year’s Carifta Championships, was outstanding once again, earning silver in the Under-16 division. She was edged out by Jamaica’s Raehanna Brown by a half a point.
Another Naparima College student, Daenon Ramsumair, placed second in the Under-20 division with five points, one behind the winner, Pierre Chang of Suriname.
San Fernando Central Secondary’s Amy Ali, a national Under-18 champion, narrowly missed out on a medal, losing to Jamaican Ashanti Blackwood in the final round.
In the Open Under-12 category, Candidate Master Rayden Rampersad and Juninho La Fleur, Zara’s brother, fought up to the seventh and final round, where they were defeated.
Rampersad earlier drew against the eventual winner, Jaden Shaw, of Jamaica, in the sixth round.
La Fleur, and his TT team-mates – Aaron Chaitram, Taydan Balliram and Luke Balliram, together with Rampersad – scored 5 points and were separated on the tie-break for fifth spot.
In the Female Under-12 category, Cayleigh Manocha was defeated by Jamaica’s Laila Griffiths in the bronze medal match. Manocha was, however, able to celebrate a silver medal in the sub-category.
Aradhana Ramnarine-Singh and Arya Maharaj were close behind with 4.5 points.
Other members of the TT team included: Aradhana Ramnarine Singh, Aryana Nanan, Ari Bunsee, Luke Balliram, Taydan Balliram, Tristan Balliram, Rayden Rampersad, Aidan Chaitram, Aaron Chaitram, Adrian Lutawan, Kael Samuel Bisnath and Javed Maharaj in the Under-12 division, and Anusha Saha, Keira Samuel Bisnath, Keshav Maharaj, Kiran Mohammed and Sanat Maharaj in the Under-16 division.
Team manager and TTCA’s third vice-president, Sadiqah Razark, served on the Appeals Committee during the event. Sadiqah was supported by accompanying parent, Larry Ramoutar.
TT’s Sub-Category prize winners:
Under 8 Absolute- Kyan Muradli, winner
Under 8 Female- Charlise Mike, winner
Under 10 Female- Arya Maharaj, third
Under 12 Absolute- Juninho La Fleur, third
Under 12 Female- Cayleigh Manocha, second
Under 18 Female- Amy Ali, third