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Stann Creek Grand Prix Qualifier Tournament

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Greg Vitko Emerges Victorious in the Stann Creek Grand Prix Qualifier Tournament

Belize Chess

The Stann Creek Grand Prix Qualifier Tournament took place on the 22nd of July 2023 at the Stann Creek Ecumenical College in Dangriga Town. This event marked the last qualifying tournament in the Belize National Chess Championship, attracting players from Stann Creek, Belize, Cayo, and Orange Walk.

Despite facing challenges from poor weather conditions that led to delayed start times and player absences, the tournament was a resounding success. However, due to the lack of participants, the U15 Section merged with the open section.

The tournament featured some of Belize's finest chess talents, including Alfred Awe, Steve Flowers, Greg Vitko, and Jerome Sho. These players currently held ranks 1, 2, 10, and 11 in the national rankings, respectively.

Steve Flowers vs Marric Elijio
Steve Flowers vs Marric Elijio

The opening round set the tone for the event, with Steve Flowers, rank 2, engaging in a close match against Stann Creek's Marric Elijio. In a surprising turn of events, Elijio outmaneuvered Flowers in the endgame, establishing himself as a formidable competitor from the onset.

Another thrilling encounter occurred in round 2, pitting Tournament Favorite Alfred Awe against Jerome Sho in an all-Stann Creek Brawl. After a quiet opening, Awe blundered a bishop in the opening and from there Sho proceeded to play an excellent game not giving Awe any chances of a counterattack and won the game shaking up the tournament standings.

In the subsequent rounds, the competition remained fierce. In another All-Stann Creek Brawl, Jerome Sho and Marric Elijio faced off in an exhilarating match, with Sho eventually emerging victorious despite some tense moments during the endgame. They played a thrilling game with Jerome winning an early pawn and carried his advantage into the endgame. However, after some inaccuracies by Jerome, Marric ended up levelling the material and the endgame teetered out into a Rook and King vs Rook and King endgame. In a shocking twist in time pressure, Marric Elijio accidentally blundered his rook away just 5 moves away from making the 50-move-rule draw. And with this Jerome Sho stole a win.

Meanwhile, Steve Flowers, faced Greg Vitko. Both players played a hard-fought game and Flowers has a slight advantage in the middle game however Greg Vitko capitalized on inaccuracies to secure a crucial win.

Greg Vitko (Left) vs Jerome Sho (Right)
Greg Vitko (Left) vs Jerome Sho (Right)

In round 4, saw tournament leaders Greg Vitko and Jerome Sho faceoff against each other. In the game Sho struggled during the opening and allowed Vitko to gain a significant advantage, leading to a decisive victory for Vitko who heads into the final round as Sole tournament leader.

The final round saw an exciting showdown between Rank 1 Alfred Awe and Rank 2 Steve Flowers. Awe played a solid defense against flowers and after the players asked some questions to each other, the game ended in a draw. Both players had a disappointing performance with Flowers dropping from Rank #2 to Rank 5. Both players leave the tournament disappointed with their overall performance.

Also in round 5, Greg Vitko faced off against Marric Elijio, and Vitko's calculated approach secured him the tournament victory.

Tournament Winner Greg Vitko moves to Belize Rank 2
Tournament Winner Greg Vitko moves to Belize Rank 2

Final Standings:

1st Place: Greg Vitko – 160 pts

2nd Place: Jerome Sho – 130 pts

3rd Place: Alfred Awe – 110 pts

Final Standings
Final Standings

With his victory, Greg Vitko secured the top seed for the Grand Finale with an impressive 320 championship points.

Stann Creek Qualifier Jerome Sho (Left)
Stann Creek Qualifier Jerome Sho (Left)

Jerome Sho's second-place finish granted him a spot in the Grand Finale as the Stann Creek Grand Prix Qualifier.

Despite the poor performance, Third place was enough for Rank 1 Alfred Awe to qualify for the Grand Finale by most championship points (240 points in 2 tournaments)

Despite a disappointing performance, Steve Flowers also secured his spot in the Grand Finale due to his strong past performances, accumulating 240 championship points from three tournaments.

A special mention goes to Francis Martin, the sole U15 player at the event, who exhibited great courage by competing against formidable opponents. Although he didn't secure any wins, his determination and resilience were commendable. He faced off against The Belize Rank 1 Alfred Awe, Rank 2 Steve Flowers and Stann Creeks Rank 3 Marric Elijio and is sure to learn a lot from this tournament.

Francis Martin
Francis Martin receiving his award

The organizers extend their gratitude to the Ecumenical High School for providing the venue for the event.


Belize National Chess Championship

This concludes the fifth and final qualifying event for the Grand Finale and Sever of Eight players have been locked in.

Open Section Grand Finale Qualifiers
Open Section Grand Finale Qualifiers

u15 Section Grand Finale Qualifiers
u15 Section Grand Finale Qualifiers

An online Invitational Single Elimination tournament will be held to determine the 8 and final player in the Grand Finale. The following players were selected for the invitational based on their past tournament performances or strong presence in the Belize Chess Online Group.

To view the wildcard tournament Bracket, use the following link:

Wildcard Selection Participants: -

Charlton Roaches - Rank 4

Maximilliano Novelo - Rank 11

Cristobal Campos - Rank 14

Dinsdale Caye - Toledo Rank 1

Zeyad Godoy - U15 Rank 1

Gabriel Campos - Orange Walk Rank 3

Kelvin Baizar - 1962 Rating

Ivor Pixabaj - Stann Creek Rank 3

Roger Canto - 2nd Place Cayo Tournament

Pedro De Armas - 6th Place Championship Points

Reyhan Rosado - 8th Place Championship Points

Marric Elijio - Stann Creek Rank 4

Wildcard Qualifier Tournament Bracket
Wildcard Qualifier Tournament Bracket

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