(CMR) Chess in Schools has received a significant boost as the Cayman Islands Chess Federation (CICF) is seeking to relaunch its school program later this year. An earlier program was put on hold due to funding limitations and then the COVID-19 pandemic.
A CICF fundraiser in Camana Bay on Wednesday, 29 March, will feature a presentation/Q&A at Vue Cinema at 5 pm, followed by the third edition of the Grandmaster Corporate Challenge at Abacus at 6 pm.
The Grandmaster challenge will involve a simultaneous exhibition match by GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, the Norwegian national teammate of world champion Magnus Carlsen. The grandmaster will play against up to 30 challengers, representing local businesses, institutions, and donors that sponsor the schools' program.
Sponsors may also nominate a local junior player to enter on their behalf. Supporters, as well as participants, are welcome to attend.
Once revived, the schools' program is intended to teach chess to children throughout the public schools to help develop skills such as critical thinking, logic, and decision-making. The program will be led by CICF Youth Chess Director, National Master Ryan Blackwood, who has 15 years of experience successfully delivering a chess in schools program in Jamaica. Coach Blackwood is passionate about the child development benefits of teaching through chess, and one of his former students, Jaden Shaw, represented Jamaica at the FIDE Olympiad last year, becoming a FIDE Master at the age of 15.
Coach Blackwood will be assisted by Enfield Bush (22) of West Bay, who is the strongest Caymanian chess player and an aspiring chess coach.
Finally, Grandmaster Christiansen will also be the guest of honor at the annual Inter-School Chess Tournament hosted by Cayman International School on Friday, 31 March.
For sponsorship inquiries, pledges, and ‘angel’ donations, please contact CICF President Shaun Tracey at [email protected].