Young James Tondo has emerged as the champion of the Liberia Chess Federation after winning nine (9) of the eleven (11) rounds played.
James Tondo finished the first National Chess Championship in two years at the top of the table with 9 points, dethroning defending champion, CM Barcon Harmon by ½ point.
Tondo rated at 1884; showcase nice skills on the boards winning his first seven rounds, before falling in the eighth round and drawing the ninth round. James Tondo who represents the Barnesville Chess team was part of the Liberia Chess National team at the just ended 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.
Before the weeklong competition at the Chess Federation headquarters in Sinkor, James Tondo was ranked at fourth spot in the top ten ranking in Liberia.
Tondo speaking to The Monrovia Times Sports after the final game, described the tournament as the toughest he has competed in so far on the local front.
He said the tournament was difficult because many of the players he came up against were “playing outside the books”. Tondo added that there are many good Chess players in the country that could become great if they get the support needed.
“You have lots of guys who play Chess. Chess is not for busy people. It is a mind game that requires lots of attention. Chess demands all of your time. Most of the best Chess players in the World spend at least 14 hours on Chess every day” said Tondo.
James Tondo said, “though it feels good being a champion, it’s also difficult being a champion because everyone at a tournament always targets winning the champion”.
He told The Monrovia Times Sports that the Georgia Olympiad helped build his confidence which got him winning his opponents who are engineers, mathematicians, accountants and champions Barcon.
James Tondo added that though he wants to be champion in Liberia till eternity, it will be tough to keep hold of the title.
Despite his victory, James Tondo is yet to get a Fide rating of CM (Candidate Master), the least rating.
He said that doesn’t take his mind off his dream of becoming a Grandmaster in years to come.
About 24 Chess players participated in the 2018 National Open Chess Championship with 15-year-old Morlu Kerkula winning 13th spot ahead of several old chess players.
The Championship was arbitrated by an International Arbiter, Mario Kpan of the Ivory Coast who served as Chief Arbiter.
The Chess Federation Boss speaking at the end of the game said a former ceremony to present awards to winners will take place Tuesday.