Making Moves with APS’ Chess Champs

January 25, 2024 was this year’s staging of the North West St Andrew Primary School Chess Championship. Approximately 200 hundred students from schools such as Dunrobin Primary, Friendship Primary, Rousseau Primary and our very own Jessie Ripoll Primary went head to head at this highly anticipated tournament. The event, which was held at the Pembroke Hall Primary School, marked the first time in which the members of the Alpha Primary chess club played against other schools in a formal competition setting. Despite that fact, instead of being overcome with nerves, our seven club members who competed were brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the weeks leading up to the event. Although the club was only recently re-established in October (after a brief stint a few years ago which was cut short by the pandemic), our students were well prepared.

L-R: Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke (the event’s sponsor) with APS chess camps Savannah Lewis, Noelle Noble, and Kalyssa Campbell.

With the eyes of parents, teachers and other audience members trained on them, our students performed calmly under pressure as they carefully considered each move on the board. Throughout the intense competition, they kept their spirits up and were able to point out the errors of their opponents to their teachers in between rounds. Playing against new, unfamiliar teams allowed APS students to adapt to and learn from players who may be more advanced in certain areas of gameplay. The event was an all day affair and, after five rounds of valiantly wielding their skills against opponents, our students emerged victorious!

The event was an all day affair and, after five rounds of valiantly wielding their skills against opponents, our students emerged victorious. Alpha Primary School’s chess team won 1st place overall with three of our students (Noelle Noble, Kalyssa Campbell and Savannah Lewis), winning first, second and fourth place trophies respectively. Our students were ecstatic about the results and are already looking forward to other upcoming competitions this year (two of which are scheduled for May and November). In the meantime, this collective win has drummed up noticeable interest in the club among other APS students. This bodes extremely well for the future of the chess club which, through this time-tested game, aims to sharpen our children’s cognitive skills as it relates to problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, and concentration.

The APS Chess team celebrating after their victory.

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