Venezuelan Mirian Rodriguez, chess champion of Nueva Esparta state, is a member of the 20-player delegation coming from the South American republic to play in the four-day Caribbean Chess Carnival which starts at Queen’s Royal College on Thursday. Rodriguez is also a member of the University of UNEFA chess team in Polamar, Margarita. She is one of nine females on the Venezuelan team and will play in the Under-20 section which has attracted 16 entries. Among the Venezuelan contingent are Ricardo Perez, Juliet Yepez and Catherine Yepez, Under-16, Under-12 and Under-10 champions respectively, of Nueva Esparta and members of the Venezuelan national selection pool. The Caribbean Chess Carnival, an initiative of the T&T Chess Foundation, is a major annual event attracting junior players from all over the region and beyond. So far, according to president Edison Raphael, a total of 72 entries have been received from the US, Barbados and Suriname.
Thirteen-year-old Isaac Barayev, New York City junior high school champion, is the highest rated player (2100) in the Carnival. Barayev is also a member of the US national high school championship chess team. National Junior Champion Joshua Johnson, his sister Gabriella, and Mahendra Singh are among the group of 30 players contesting the Under-14 category. The Under-10 section has attracted 12 players while 14 novices, all from T&T, have entered the fray. The Chess Carnival is again being sponsored by First Citizens Asset Management Ltd. The event carries a cash prize fund of $20,000 with cash prizes and trophies being awarded to the first five winners in each category. This year, the Foundation has added an Open Rapid Play Tournament to the Carnival. It takes the form of a seven-round Swiss with each player having 25 minutes. Rounds one and two will be played on Thursday, three, four and five on Friday and six and seven on Saturday, with play starting at 7 pm each day. Prizes from first to sixth are $1000, $600, $400, $200, $150, $150.