Defending champions Naparima College will be going all out to defend their title and complete a hat-trick of wins when the annual First Citizens National Secondary Schools Chess Championship takes place tomorrow at Aranguez North Secondary School.
“Naps” will start as firm favourites as they are expected to field their strongest team, led again by FIDE Master (FM) Alan-Safar Ramoutar and includING Candidate Master (CM) Rayden Rampersad, and national Under-14 champion Keagan Ragoobar.
Sixteen-year-old Ramoutar is fresh from placing second in the enior national chess championship last month and has booked a place on the T&T team to the World Chess Olympiad in Russia next August. He is also the national under-16 champion and is expected to be the chess nominee for the First Citizens Sports Foundation junior male award.
Naps can expect strong challenges from former champs Presentation College of Chaguanas, with Kiran Mohammed and Zidane Boodoo; Hillview College, with national U-12 champ Juninho La Fleur and Sameer Ali; St Mary’s College with (CM) Sean Yearwood and Peter Chin; while Fatima College have Aaron Chaitram and Kyle Valle in their team.
The girls’ schools are again in the running with last year’s runners-up, St. Joseph Convent PoS, being led by former national U-12 champion Marliyah Mason-Phillips; St Augustine Girls High School with female national U-14 Champ Zara La Fleur, who placed third in the recent senior women’s national championship and will be in Russia with the national Olympiad team; and St Francois Girls College, led by new national women’s champion (WCM) Shemilah James, who is expected to be the nominee in both the senior and junior categories at the First Citizens Sports Foundation Awards.
The schools championship, now in its 14th year, is FIDE-rated and open to all secondary school players.