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Checkmate in Orange Walk: The Orange Walk Grand Prix Chess Tournament 2023

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Orange Walk Swiss Chess
Players before the start of their game

The Town of Orange Walk came alive with chess as the Orange Walk Swiss Chess Tournament took place at the Sandy Hunter Library on Saturday, May 27th, 2023. The event saw a gathering of 23 talented chess players from Orange Walk, Corozal, Belize, and Cayo, showcasing their skills and strategic prowess in the mind sport. The tournament, organized under the able guidance of Tournament Directors Joshua Beaza (VP, BCF) and Marco Nabet (Treasurer, BCF), proved to be a thrilling spectacle for chess enthusiasts and participants alike.

This event is the first of five tournaments which will be used to select players for the Belize National Chess Championship Grand Finals. To view the current standing visit the following link: Belize Chess Grand Prix | BCF

The tournament featured two sections: the Open Section and the Under-15 Section, each presenting its own set of challenges and opportunities for the players.


Open Section

In the Open Section, the battle for supremacy was fierce, with seasoned players vying for the coveted title.

Open Section Belize Chess
Open Section

Round 1 of the Orange Walk Grand Prix Chess Tournament brought forth a thrilling matchup between two formidable players, Steve Flowers (Rank 2) and Michael Campos (Rank 5). The intensity was palpable as both players engaged in a captivating battle of wits. Ultimately, it was Flowers who showcased his exceptional skills, outclassing Michael and seizing an early lead in the tournament.

Michael Campos vs Steve Flowers
Rank 5 Michael Campos vs Rank 2 Steve Flowers

Rounds 2 and 3 witnessed a captivating tour of events as Luis Mendez Jr. (Rank 3) suffered consecutive defeats in both rounds. First, he fell victim to the strategic brilliance of Kenneth Perez (Rank 14). Then, Gabriel Campos rose to the occasion and dealth another blow to Mendez, sealing his gate and effectively extinguishing his chances of contending for the tournament vistory.

The tournament took an unexpected turn in Round 4 when Flowers suffered a dramatic loss to the underdog, Gabriel Campos (Rank 25). This loss allowed Michael to catch up in the standings, setting the stage for an exhilarating final round.

As the final round approached, Steve Flowers, Michael Campos, Kenneth Perez, and Gabriel Campos found themselves in a thrilling deadlock, all tied at 3 points. With everything hanging in the balance, a victory in the final round would secure, at the very least, a tiebreak match for first place.

In the final round, Flowers was pitted against Perez, while Michael faced Gabriel. Gabriel, fresh off his remarkable upset win against Flowers, hoped to work his magic once again by defeating Michael. However, Michael proved to be a force to be reckoned with as he emerged victorious in their intense match, solidifying his position as a frontrunner in the tournament.

Orange Walk Swiss Chess
Players getting ready for their game

Fate took its course, as both Flowers and Perez battled to a draw in their game, leaving Michael in sole possession of the lead. His exceptional performance throughout the tournament had earned him a well-deserved spot at the top of the standings.

Emerging as the champion of the Open Section was the formidable Michael Campos from Orange Walk. Campos, who also serves as the Event planner for the BCF, showcased exceptional skills and determination throughout the tournament, amassing an impressive score of 4/5 and earning himself 160 championship points. As the victor, Campos secured an automatic qualification to the Belize National Chess Championship Grand Finals, becoming the first player to do so from this tournament. His victory is a testament to his dedication and strategic brilliance.

In a tightly contested race for the runner-up positions, Kenneth Perez from Orange Walk and Steve Flowers from Belize both exhibited remarkable performances, earning 3.5 points each. Their exceptional gameplay lead to a thrilling tiebreak match. Ultimately, Kenneth Perez emerged victorious, securing the second-place position in the Open Section. Both players earned 120 Championship Points.

Top 3:

1st Place: Michael Campos (OW), 160 pts

2nd Place: Kenneth Perez (OW), 120 pts

3rd Place: Steve Flowers (BZ), 120 pts

Steve Flowers vs Kenneth Perez
Spectators watching the tie break battle between Steve Flowers and Kenneth Perez
Final Standings - Open Section
Final Standings - Open Section

U15 Section

U15 Section, Belize Chess
U15 Section

In the U-15 section of the Orange Walk Grand Prix Chess Tournament, we had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable talents of two exceptional young players. At just 9 years old, these budding chess prodigies, Jeremel Canan and Renen Santos, displayed remarkable maturity and skill beyond their tender age. Their presence in the tournament served as a testament to the bright future of chess, where youth and brilliance converge to create a captivating spectacle.

The Under-15 Section proved to be just as captivating, with young prodigies showcasing their talent and determination. The section witnessed an exhilarating four-way tie for first place, as Zeyad Godoy, Miguel Pech, Nayven Quan, and Mikael Cervantes, all displayed exceptional skills and finished with 4 points each. After a series of gripping tiebreak matches, it was Zeyad Godoy from Orange Walk who emerged as the champion of the Under-15 Section, displaying maturity and composure beyond his years. All four young players, demonstrated remarkable potential and earned 122.5 championship points each, establishing themselves as rising stars in Belize Chess.

Belize Chess Zeyad Godoy
U-15 winner Zeyad Godoy receiving his award from the President and VP of the BCF

Zeyad Godoy, the rising star of Belize Chess, etched his name in history as the trailblazer among U-15 players. With his exceptional performance and unwavering determination, Godoy became the first U-15 player to earn a coveted spot in the prestigious Belize National Chess Championship Grand Finals.

Top 4:

1st Place: Zeyad Godoy (OW), 122.5 pts

2nd Place: Miguel Pech (OW), 122.5 pts

3rd Place: Nayven Quan (CZL), 122.5 pts

4th Place: Mikael Cervantes (OW), 122.5 pts

 Final Standings - U15 Section
Final Standings - U15 Section

The success of the Orange Walk Grand Prix Chess Tournament would not have been possible without the support of the Sandy Hunter Library, which graciously provided its venue for the event. The BCF also extends our gratitude to Jason Hsu, who assisted with chess sets and a tournament computer, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all participants.

The tournament not only celebrated the triumphs of the winners but also highlighted the growth and talent within the chess community of Orange Walk, Corozal, Belize, and Cayo. The event served as a platform for players to showcase their skills, learn from their experiences, and form lasting connections within the chess fraternity.

Jason Hsu, Belize Chess
Jason Hsu, who finished 5th in the open section, assisting with the tournament software.

As the participants reflect on their performances and prepare for future challenges, the Orange Walk Grand Prix Chess Tournament 2023 will be remembered as a landmark event that elevated the sport of chess in the region. The organizers, players, and supporters can be proud of their contribution in fostering a thriving chess culture and nurturing the next generation of chess masters.

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