An estimated 70 students from about 20 prep and primary schools are expected to participate in the third annual Mona Preparatory Rapid Chess Tournament set for Saturday, January 28, 2023 at the Mona Prep Church Hall in Kingston.

Sponsored by Express Canteen, the tournament held in conjunction with the Mona Prep Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA), began in 2020 with the objective of encouraging critical and strategic thinking among children at the primary level of education.

“Chess is a game that forces one to think and helps to build critical thinking, which are the ‘new’ buzz words for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP). The aim is to create the awareness of the game and how it can build one’s skill in critical thinking,” said Natalia Blake, Sports Director, Mona Prep PTA back then.

The tournament has children from ages 6-11 vying for trophies, books, gift baskets and certificates while hoping to emerge as champions.

According to Andrea Johnson, a member of the Mona Prep PTA and member of the organizing committee, the tournament has proven to be quite popular among students. She indicated that even during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022, more than 50 students competed online.

With the tournament returning to face-to-face competition this year, she is expecting that even more students will be keen on participation.

Terence Lindo, national arbiter, who is also a member of the organizing committee, said students will play each other according to the grades they are in. This means that grade one students will play grade one students and so on. However, in the event that there are not a sufficient number of entries from any one grade, players will be pooled with those from the next grade.

The international organizer said the Jamaica Chess Federation rating system will be used during the tournament where matches will last 30 minutes with 30-second increments to ensure competitiveness.

 He revealed that over time, for future tournaments, students will be given ratings.

Express Canteen has been a long-time supporter of school sports in Jamaica. In addition to their sponsorship of the Mona Prep Rapid Chess Tournament, Express Canteen, is also the concessionaire and sponsor for Lannamans Prep, the recent winners of the JISA Prep School Football Competition as well as Hydel Prep that recently won the JISA Netball Competition.

It is no surprise then that their support has helped propel several schools towards success, fostering a spirit of success.

This, among other reasons, is why CEO of Express Canteen Ryan Foster said his company was glad to be on board as a sponsor of this very important competition.

"Express Canteen is pleased to have partnered with the Mona Prep PTA for the third time in the staging of "The Mona Chess". We are not only Mona Prep food partner but also a key stakeholder in the process of providing a balanced environment between education and sport,” he said.

“We want to wish all participants the best of luck and may the core values of fair play be at the center of competition. We are extremely happy with the work being done by the PTA body along with the school and hence why we have continued on board to make this event a reality. Sport transcends borders and improves lives and livelihood."

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