The Bahamas Chess Federation recently wrapped up its Chess Summer Camp Program at the Holy Family Hall which was held throughout the month of July.
The Chess Summer Camp Program was one of many camps operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture’s yearly National Youth Summer Employment Program and Summer Camp Program. The camps are designed to help to enhance the skills of children, up to the age of 15, in a range of physical, creative and mental activities. The chess camp’s specific goals included exposing more young people to the game of chess, improving students’ chess skills and increasing interest in the intellectual sport.
The camp saw children, ranging in age and skill level, brimming with excitement to learn and to participate in healthy competition. It attracted approximately 50 children. Thirty percent of the children had never been exposed to the royal sport of chess before attending the camp.
Campers improved their chess game while learning important logic and critical thinking skills. The Chess Summer Camp Program was taught by FIDE Master (FM) Cecil “Carver” Moncur, the only FM in The Bahamas. Moncur was assisted by Diana Williams. Nathaniel A. Higgs, Daijah Johnson, Dr. David Sands and Trinity Pinder served as camp volunteers.
Chess, as is true with all sports, offers young people a myriad of benefits and opportunities. Chess is also one of the most effective ways to improve problem-solving skills and concentration. Studies have shown that one of the key educational benefits of chess is increasing memory and verbal reasoning skills. When young people play chess they learn that they need to concentrate and focus on the game. The ability to focus is a skill which is invaluable for performing well at school.
“The camp was fun, they taught me how to play chess and now I can go out and teach other people, like my dad, to play chess”, said Shiloh Minnis, a third-grade student at Sts. Francis & Joseph School. Minnis, who has only recently learned chess, added, “I also enjoyed the camp because I got to meet and play with other people.”
Elton Joseph, president of the Bahamas Chess Federation, said: “This was an exciting summer camp for all ages and skill levels. We are proud to have assisted the Ministry of Youth & Sports in its great effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for our nation’s kids.
“The Executive Committee would like to thank the camp counselors and volunteers as well as the caring parents who diligently dropped their kids off daily. We would like to also thank the BCF sponsors, including The MedNet Group of Companies, who generously supplied healthy snacks, drinks and shirts for the participants.”
The camp culminated with a chess tournament. Prizes for the tournament were divided into three divisions – Bishop, Rook and Open.
The Open Division included advanced players – those who entered the camp with extensive chess playing experience. Aidan Mart won that division. Seth Roberts and Avian Pride were second and third respectively.
Intermediate players – those who entered the camp with some chess playing experience – participated in the Rook Division. Winning that division was Donte Dorelien. Finishing second was Morgan Komolafe and rounding out the podium position in that division was Olga Roussos.
The Bishop Division included absolute beginners – those who came to the camp not knowing chess. Jasmine Key was the winner in that division. Carlisa Saunders and Bryce Espiritu finished second and third respectively.