The game of chess develops critical thinking skills, strategic analysis, decision-making and strength of forethought. It's recognized as a valuable learning tool for people of all ages.
At Centreville Community School, a total of 107 students recently gathered as challengers for top medals in a regional Chessfest organized by the Woodstock Education Centre.
ASD-W's subject coordinator Katrina Paget said the third annual event was open to 14 upriver schools, each sending their top three students in Grades 3-11, following individual school playoffs. No students in Grade 9 or Grade 12 registered for the tournament this year.
"Students come and attend this single elimination chess tournament at the district level," Paget explained. "A match is timed (12 minutes) and points are awarded for pieces captured after that time period. If there is a tie, they have extra time to break the tie. Medals are awarded for gold and silver at each grade level."
Paget said chess is a popular game for students because it is challenging, cost effective, not limited to age, and it provides opportunities for socialization.
"There are kids who have struggles at school with learning and behaviour but are confident chess players," she said. "Whether they win or lose, they all shake
hands at the end of the match and look forward to finding another opponent even
if they are out of the running for a medal. The younger students enjoy
meeting the other students and the prizes. Every student has their name
put in for a draw for many door prizes."
Many of the schools taking part in the tournament operate regular chess clubs. Others have students who play on their own and the school sends them to the competition.
Gary Thorne, a retired teacher in the district, plays chess with
three schools in the district (Nackawic Elementary School, Nackawic Middle School, and
"Having volunteers like him and teachers willing to take their free
time to sit with kids and have them learn the game is what keeps this
tournament going," Paget noted. "Without all of these volunteers, there would be no
tournament at all."
Gold and silver medal winners representing each grade level at Chessfest are now eligible to attend a provincial tournament taking place in Edmundston in mid-April.
Winners from the Chessfest in Centreville are follows:
place 2nd place
3 Ben Guthrie (TS) Milo Gatta (TS)
4 Jackson Hanscome(AES) Vada Bradstreet(HCS)
5 Dominic Schnarr(TS) Sava Shulgin(TS)
6 Jadon Derrah(FMS) Oliver VanOord(NMS)
7 Lianna VanRhijin(TS) Eric Chase (FMS)
8 Aidan Tomah(MCS) Gabriel Antonio-Barcenas(HCS)
10 Owen Comeau(JCS) Noah Grenier(JCS)
11 Anson Green(SVHS) Sky Pelletier(JCS)