Bahamas Chess Champions say more children should learn‏
By Felicity Ingraham
Jan 8, 2014 – 10:38:35 AM

Nassau, Bahamas – The game of chess can provide the skills necessary to hone young minds into productive citizens and can significantly impact the crime rate in time. The two young chess champions fresh from the CAC games expressed this sentiment at a press conference on Monday, where they were officially thanked by the Bahamas government for their stellar performance.

The game, according to Nathan Smith and Daijah Johnson, forces you to use your mind to win a battle on the game board, and can help you make better decisions in life.

Nathan, the under 8 champion of the CAC games, a home-schooled student, said playing chess makes you think about every move you make, during the game and in life. Daijah, who placed an impressive 5th overall, said more children should play chess as it requires you to plan ahead for your next move.

The skills and talents that can be developed through the game should be passed on to students from a young age like the two champions, in order to create more conscious and law-abiding citizens, according to the Bahamas Chess Federation. The federation is seeking for more funding and support to help promote the game. Members want people to know that chess is a sport with international competitions and rewards that should e considered by people from all walks of life.

The young chess champions were supported by their parents and the federation during a press conference and courtesy call with the Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson and Director of Sports, Tim Munnings. Dr. Johnson said Nathan’s amazing win and Dejah’s commendable performance provide a wonderful opportunity for his ministry to highlight the works of athletes who are often not considered seriously for their sport.

But the fact that The Bahamas pulled a win at the CAC games stands as proof that sports like chess should not be overlooked, but rather embraced by schools in the country. He called for more schools to provide opportunities for their students to participate in extra-curricular activities like chess, as they provide outlets for positive energy and lay down strong foundations for productivity as opposed to violence.

Ama Ferguson, Nathan’s grandmother, called for the public and private corporations to consider providing funding for the Bahamas Chess Federation to continue its work.

Andre White, federation president, was present along with secretary Nathaniel Higgs and Dr. David Sands, committee member were present for the courtesy call and to officially congratulate the young athletes who used their minds to pull off the amazing performances.

Nathan recalls that competitors from other Caribbean islands tried to use diversion and intimidation tactics to try to take the win, but he remained focused and conquered them all. It’s this kind of victory that he wants other young people to experience so that they can seek positive and constructive things to do, rather than getting into trouble. His parents, Henria Ferguson-Smith and Gurth Smith expressed their pride in their son’s CAC Games victory.

Deijah, who serves as the head girl at CW Sawyer Primary School, said she finds that chess helps her in homework and studying as well, and encouraged her peers to consider the sport. Her parents, Samantha Mackey and Darvin Johnson were on-hand to support their daughter and to receive the congratulations of the Minister.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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