THE Bahamas made history by becoming the newest member of the International School Sports Federation.
The federation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and aims to promote the values and interests of Education through Sport.
Chess will be the first sport contested for The Bahamas.
Team Bahamas will compete at ISF World Schools Championship Online Chess 2020. The team includes Daijah Johnson (Aquinas College), Trinity Pinder (Doris Johnson), Olga Roussos (Home School), Nathan Smith (Home School), Aiden Mart (Home School), Noah Albury (St. Augustine’s College), Trevor Bridgewater (Queen’s College), Curtis Pride Jr (Home School), Makayla Horton (St. Augustine’s College), Avain Pride (Home School), Seth Roberts (Queen’s College), Daniel Ramtulla (Queen’s College), Faith Higgs (SC McPherson), Nathaniel Higgs Jr (RM Bailey) and Tadan Ferguson (Home School).
Bahamas Chess Federation Elton Joseph said it is a great opportunity for the development of the local sport.
“Chess is a sport that age is basically a number. If the kids get strong enough, they can compete at the highest level which is the World Chess Olympiad,” he said.
“This year we had a lot of funding. We had some chess sets and books. We were supposed to do a big chess in the schools programme but COVID-19 hit. There are two clubs in Freeport, a club in Eleuthera and Andros that we sent chess sets to and then school closed down.”
Young chess players from all over the world are invited to participate in the ISF’s second online event. The ISF World Schools Championship Online Chess 2020 will begin October 3 with qualification rounds and concludes on October 25 with finals. Throughout October, the ISF World Schools Championship Online Chess 2020 will include four qualification and four final tournaments.
The virtual competition software used will be Premium Chess.
Team Bahamas was on hand to express their excitement at the opportunity.
Johnson said: “I feel as if each international tournament is always a good experience as I get to compete against people from different parts around the world. I also get to interact with people from different cultures and make long friendships with fellow chess players like myself,” Johnson said.
Pinder said: “I heard from my mother that my grandfather also used to play so I thought why not give it a try. When I tried, I realised that it can take me a lot of places which it has over the years because I grew up in Bain and Grant’s Town and I never felt I would have gotten the chance to travel the world. Through chess I have already been to Jamaica, Curacao, the Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. I went to a lot of places that I thought I would have never been as a child from Bain Town.”
Roussos said: “I think it is going to be a great learning experience. Whenever I play, I always learn about new moves and tactics that I can use in future games. I am very excited to compete against other seasoned players.”
Rupert Gardiner serves as the President of ISF Bahamas.
“History has been made in the Bahamas once again. There is quite a list of events that will be taking place in 2021 and I would like to see us well represented in them. Everything from basketball to volleyball to track and field and now especially with chess,” he said.
“History is being made once again in The Bahamas and I am a part of it. I would like to thank the press for turning out to support this event to make it a success so that other kids can be involved in the ISF. There are a lot of opportunities for you.”
“I want to encourage all of the schools and athletes to get involved and find an opportunity to become exposed to persons around the world…
“This is a fantastic opportunity and I hope you seize this chance to get involved in sports. Chess appears to be the first one out the gate.
“It is a mind sport and some people don’t know chess is a sport – they consider it a board game but it requires a lot of mental stamina and patience. These are some of the attributes that sports will teach you,” Munnings stated.
According to the ISF, its events, “the World Schools Championships and the Gymnasiade, aim to promote among young people: mutual understanding, volunteering empowerment, peace, non-discrimination, healthy lifestyle, social inclusion, and gender equality.
“Thus it contributes to support the educative paths of the young people to empower them as citizens of the world.
“ISF pursues its goals independently from political, religious or racial considerations.”