Junior Chess Congress to provide opportunities

1 week ago 12

CHESS NATIONAL Master Ryan Blackwood expects a strong performance from the Jamaica and Cayman Islands delegation which will compete in the 2024 National Junior Chess Congress in Orlando, Florida today.

Blackwood, head of the delegation, said the students hailing from Chess Whiz Kids Academy are heading into the competition as one of the best-ranked clubs in the competition.

He explained the club has attended every staging of the competition over the last seven years.

“Chess Whiz Kids Academy has been attending the event for the last seven years since 2017,” he explained.

“We have always walked away as the top club from the event in most sections, so expectations are very high for the Jamaican and Cayman delegation heading there.”

Blackwood said the annual competition provides the perfect opportunity for players from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to compete against some of the best international talent in the US from their age group.

He also said it provides a platform for students to earn scholarships throughout the competition.

“It is a tournament that provides an opportunity for students to earn scholarships, as well as to participate against some of the top 100 players in the US,” he explained.

“It is an international tournament and, when you’re looking to represent your country or your club or your school, competitions like these are really stepping stones for other international events.”

Several members of the delegation will also be competing for Jamaica at the upcoming 2024 Pan-American Chess Championships, which is set to take place in Orlando, Florida immediately after the Junior Chess Congress.

Blackwood said this allows the players to use the Junior Chess Congress for final preparations ahead of the Pan-American Championships.

“There are two competitions that are taking place in Orlando and this is just the first one. All of our students who are going to be playing the PanAms are definitely going to be participating in the Junior Congress, in terms of honing their skills to move on to a much tougher event afterwards.”

The Junior Chess Congress provides a wide range of categories for players ranking from beginners to masters.

This, Blackwood says, provides an environment for all players, regardless of skill, to learn and develop.

“It does offer a very wide skill set for players from all different levels,” he said. “We have a mixture of well-experienced players as well as newcomers but the tournament is one of such where it offers sections to players who are complete beginners, ranging up to players who are above my level as a National Master.”

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