More than 120 students from eight local schools participated in the inaugural Dart Minds Inspired Interschool Chess Tournament.
Hosted by Cayman International School, the competition was held on Feb. 27 at the Arts and Recreation Centre in Camana Bay.
The tournament, which featured round robin and championship rounds with divisions for primary, middle and high school students, lasted for approximately four hours.
MLA Barbara Conolly, who attended the event on behalf of the Ministry of Education to present the winning students with their medals, said chess plays an important role in building academic and life skills.
“As Councillor for Education, I was pleased to attend the first Interschool Chess Tournament and present the medals to the winners,” Ms. Conolly said in a press release. “It’s never too early for a child to learn how to play chess and I can attest to that as children from the age of seven participated in this tournament.
“The game of chess helps children develop critical thinking skills such as problem-solving, creative thinking, strategic thinking and sportsmanship, amongst others.”
Dart Education Programmes Manager Glenda McTaggart said she hopes the success of the inaugural tournament will encourage the development of chess clubs at other local schools that do not currently have chess programs.
“Playing chess and participating in chess tournaments can create opportunities for Cayman’s youth to compete at national, regional and international chess events,” she said, adding that the Cayman Chess Club hosts free chess classes and open challenges every Saturday at 11 a.m. at the George Town Public Library for interested students.
Ms. McTaggart said the event’s success depended on the coordinated efforts of volunteers from several local organizations and the support of local businesses.
“Volunteers from the Lions Club of Grand Cayman and the Cayman Chess Club oversaw the competition, Kirk Market and Foster’s Food Fair provided sandwiches and snacks, and the staff and senior students of Cayman International School assisted tournament organizer Stephen Wise throughout the event,” she said. “Without their enthusiastic, loyal, and capable help, this tournament could not have taken place.”
Mr. Wise said he was encouraged by the level of student and parent participation in the inaugural event.
“The tournament exceeded all our expectations. Enthusiasm and excitement was clearly evident among all the students and parents who attended,” he added.
The Primary School Division was won by Luc Sinton of the Cayman Chess Club, the Middle School Division by Ryan Heffernan of Cayman International School, and the High School Division by Edmund Pileta of Clifton Hunter High School. Runners-up were Arjun Dhanasekar of St. Ignatius Catholic School, and Alexander Grover and Tyler Dykstra of Cayman Prep and High School.
Also competing in the Medal Round were Kiernan Finch and Ricardo Douglas of St. Ignatius Catholic School, Laia Swaminathan and Lennox Turnham-Wheatley of Cayman International School, Daniel Suico of Triple C School, and Khobika Rajesh Kannan of Cayman Academy.