The tournament is sponsored in part by First Citizens Bank and will be run in age groups: Under-9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17. This is the first time the Pan American Scholastic Chess Championship is being held in T&T.
At last year’s tournament in Margarita, the T&T squad placed second to Venezuela, with Peru third. Javanna Smith and Sanjay Roopchand brought home silver medals while Della Marie Walcott got bronze. Local players have been doing well in this and other regional tournaments for the past three years.
A total of 150 players from 10 countries are expected to participate, along with 100 local players. Among the countries invited are Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Barbados, Suriname, Jamaica, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru.
The ministers of Sport and Education have been asked to address the players at the opening ceremony at 8.30 a.m. today and hand out prizes at the closing ceremony next Tuesday. All chess players and enthusiasts are invited.
This event is expected to boost the TTCA’s current Chess in Schools Programme, and with the Easter vacation started, schools are also invited to bring along their students to witness the competition.
The Pan American Scholastic Chess Championships will be FIDE-rated, with chief international arbiter Russell Smith, deputy international arbiter Erick Hernandez from San Salvador and FIDE Arbiter Rawlson Paul presiding.
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– GM Susan Polgar