All but two players had finished their morning matches at the 2023 Guam International Open Chess Tournament on Wednesday and while most players were relaxing or enjoying lunch, a fierce battle raged inside the Dusit Beach Resort in Tumon.
Competitors Carmina Ramas and Sen. William Parkinson were locked in an intense match of strategy.
Before making their calculated moves, the two weighed pros and cons of moving a piece this way or that. Both players were trying to remain a step ahead of the other. As six or seven pieces remained for both players, they recorded their moves onto a log and repositioned their pieces. Throughout the match, Ramas occasionally rose from her seat. Sometimes she clutched her face with both hands; other times, she looked to the ceiling and prayed. Ramas at times walked a few paces away from the table, only to return to her original position and parked herself across from Parkinson looking down at her untouched glass of iced tea and unopened Kit Kat bar.
Ramas was stressed but so was the freshman senator. After a few additional moves, Parkinson put Ramas into checkmate.
“Whoa, she was fierce. She was very solid fundamentally, and, really, it was damn near a flawless game that she played,” Parkinson said. “It was tense the whole way.”
A few minutes into the match, Parkinson took one of Ramas’ pawns and that seemed to throw her off of her game. Clearly, she had not expected to have lost the piece and that appeared to rattle the 19-year-old recent John F. Kennedy High School graduate.
“Early on, I was able to surprise her a little bit with a minor pawn win, and that minor pawn win kind of set the tone. She was a little bit on her back foot the whole way,” Parkinson said. “But she scrapped the entire way through, and she did not make that easy at all.”
Ramas said that she was so stressed out.
“In the opening, I think I messed up because I let him fork me,” she said, explaining that Parkinson unleashed a tine-like attack, ganged up on multiple pieces at once and stabbed her unsuspecting token like a fork to a piece of meat.
Ramas said that she may have underestimated her opponent.
“I know he’s a senator, but I didn’t know he’s that good. … I kind of let my guard down,” she said. “I’m so pissed at myself. I could have done better.”
Although the match didn’t turn out in Ramas’ favor, she displayed strength, determination and fight.
“Females generally are not as aggressive,” Chief Arbiter Jamie Kenmure said of chess players. “I’m very pleased with what Carmina is doing and she’s really taken on board some advice that was given to her through this tournament.”
Kenmure praised Parkinson and, as a whole, the level of play on Guam.
“When you have two people who are really fighting it out and in a complicated position it’s not so easy, and I’m very proud of them,” he said.
Parkinson, who began the tournament in the 54th position and has risen to No. 18, said that he had already exceeded his goals.
“Dad would be proud that he taught me well,” Parkinson said.