Keron Sandiford dominates U20 Year-end Rapid Chess Championship

– Ricardo Narine, Ethan Lee, Pooja Lam secure prizes

Nineteen-year-old Keron Sandiford ended 2022 on a high note when he secured the top prize in the Under-20 End-of-Year Rapid Chess Championship sponsored by the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF).

Junior Rapid Champion, Keron Sandiford

Notably, Sandiford has long excelled in the fast-paced format of the game; he even finished as the top Guyanese player at the FIDE Online Rapid World Cup in 2020. He ended the recent U20 Rapid Championship on 8.5 points after nine rounds, with his only draw resulting from his clash with Oluwadare Oyeyipo.
In second place in that U20 Rapid Championship is reigning National Junior Champion Ricardo Narine, who ended the tournament on 7 points. Narine lost to U14 and U16 Rapid Chess Champion Kyle Couchman, and to eventual winner Keron Sandiford.
Ethan Lee finished in third place on 7 points, just a half-point ahead of Couchman, who came in fourth place in the tournament. Lee was ranked in third place due to a round-three loss against Narine, resulting in a tie-break by direct encounter. His only other loss came in round four against Sandiford.
Taking home the prize for “best female” was the 2022 National Women’s Champion, 14-year-old Pooja Lam, who also finished in fifth place overall among 24 participants in the event. She ended the tournament on five points; losing only to Kishan Puran, Ricardo Narine, Ethan Lee and Keron Sandiford.
Also on five points were Emmanuel Primus, Nicholas Zhang, 2022 U12 Champion Alexander Zhang, Kishan Puran, Rolex Alexander, Italy Ton-Chung and Micaiah Enoe.

(L-R) Ethan Lee, Keron Sandiford, Arbiter Anthony Drayton, Ricardo Narine and Pooja Lam

Winners received cash prizes of $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively, and the “best female” received $10,000. FM Anthony Drayton was tournament organizer and chief arbiter for the tournament. Drayton recently took up the post of head of the Youth Committee within the federation.
The next one-day Rapid Tournament was played on January 2nd, 2023, and was open to players of all ages. Players again competed in nine rounds under a time-control of 10 minutes per player with a one-second increment after each move.
The top player in the event received $50,000 cash. Second prize was worth $30,000 cash, while third prize was worth $20,000. The “best female” in the tournament was awarded $20,000.