Ricardo Narine is new national junior chess champion

It was a tense play-off on Saturday, April 23, 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 were tied in the top position at 6.5 points each. This meant the duo had to go on to a play-off for the title. Lee has been playing chess for over a decade while Narine has been in the sport for approximately seven years, and neither of them held a national title prior to this year.

Ricardo Narine v Ethan Lee in the play-off match

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 with the GOAL scholarship programme pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering. It was an intense 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 formats of the game 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 Lee now 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 win 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. The time controls really helped with the overall outcome of the play-offs. Ethan put up an excellent fight, making it all the more satisfying,” the new champ said.
It has been a major life goal for Narine to win a Junior National Title since he first started playing chess competitively.
After a few close calls with 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 play-off game I felt really nervous about losing 2-0.
“But I pulled it together in the end and managed to reverse sweep.”
The play-off format consisted of three games p— 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 in the past to determine the national champion for both senior and junior titles.
The play-off was supervised by Irshad Mohamad, FIDE Arbiter, Tournament Director and past President of the Guyana Chess Federation.