In-person primary-level chess tourney encourages federation
The Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) said it was heartened by the return of in-person competition at the Express Canteen Services-sponsored Mona Preparatory School Chess Tournament, where the hosts took top hours in the major category with a one-two finish.
Khaleel Johnson-Bartlett, with five points, won the prime grade-six competition ahead of Mona Prep schoolmate Moses Green, who logged identical points, as the No. 1 girl competitor, Kayla Moses, of Creative Kids Learning Academy, finished third overall.
"We're delighted that the country is open back up, so we can get a lot of chess. This tournament was an eye-opener in terms of knowing that students really want to get back to playing over-the-board chess," said national arbiter Terence Lindo, the ratings and selection chairman of the JCF.
"In this tournament, there was a difference in that they had to record their moves, they had to learn to write and play at the same time, and it was quite successful. About 122 kids were at this tournament," added Lindo.
"Junior tournaments like this one are vital towards building chess in Jamaica. As always, the youth is our future; so once we get the little children involved, then make them enjoy playing chess, then we definitely have a fine future in the sport."
Students participated according to their grades and there was competition right through to grade one. The prizes include trophies, medals, certificates and reading books that were awarded to leading competitors in each category.
Express Canteen Services Limited has been carrying the competition for almost all its years and Ryan Foster, the company's CEO, said being a benefactor motivated him to give back.
"Express Canteen's sponsorship of the Mona Prep School's chess competition is for the third year. Our first sponsorship started in 2019 and happened again in 2020. We came on board again during the pandemic, as well as now, where the competition is in its fourth staging, and we're extremely proud to be a part of this competition," said Foster.
"We are the concessionaire for Mona Prep, and we are concessionaires for many other prep schools in the country. We see sport and giving back to sports as part of our corporate social responsibility," he added. "I'm very big on corporate philanthropy and I believe I would have garnered and earned a lot from giving, from persons who would've given back to me when I was in school at Lannaman's Prep or Wolmer's Boys'."
Sheena Stubbs Gibson, president of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at Mona Preparatory, which staged the tournament, was very happy about the return to in-person competition following a break because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm very, very happy, delighted in fact, to be involved this year again through the PTA of Mona Prep in the hosting of the annual Mona Prep Chess Tournament. This year has been the best yet," said Stubbs Gibson.