JCF encouraged with in-person competition return at Mona Prep Chess tourney
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, at which the hosts took top honours 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 a similar number of points as the number one girl competitor, Kayla Moses, of Creative Kids Learning Academy, who 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 youths are 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, and prizes, including trophies, medals, certificates and readings books, were awarded to leading competitors in each category.
For grade five, Nathaniel Green (five points), St Andrew Prep topping Maleek Prince (four), Stella Maris Prep and Liam Logan (four) of St Andrew Prep, respectively. Creative Kids’ Emilia-Rose Leake (five) won the grade four division, outscoring Hopefield Prep’s Elisha Patel (four) and Mona Prep’s Raheem Gayle (four).
The grade three winner was Austin Xiang (five) of Hillel Academy, while Dejaun Williams (four) of Harrison Prep was second, followed by Tyler Chang (four) of Hopefield Prep. Grade two honours went to Rajvir Shergil (five), Porter’s Centre For Knowledge, as Christian Brooks (four) of Mona Prep finished second, and Jahmani Brown (four) of Holy Childhood Prep third.
Luke Wright (five) of Sts Peter & Paul Prep was tops in grade one ahead of Princeton Miller (four), St Andrew Prep, and third-place Nala-Joelle Smith (three) of Emmanuel Christian Academy.
Express Canteen Services Limited has been carrying the competition for almost all its years and Ryan Foster, the company’s chief executive officer, 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 and we see sport and giving back to sport as part of our corporate social responsibility,” he added.
Foster, who is also the CEO/secretary general of the Jamaica Olympic Association, added: “We are the main sponsors for the football competition for both Mona Prep and Lannaman’s Prep, and this is another way for us to give back to the schools and our partners, as one of their key stakeholders.”