Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » People & Places, Sports » Youths tell how chess improves the mind at 6th Chess Olympiad
May 15, 2013

Youths tell how chess improves the mind at 6th Chess Olympiad

The annual Chess Olympiad was held this year in Belmopan; one hundred and fifty players from primary to high schools tested their mental ability in a game that requires tremendous concentration. The event didn’t disappoint, aside from the competition there were side shows which also required special skills. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.


Jose Sanchez, Reporting

On Saturday, May eleventh, Jesters, stilt walkers, marching bands, garifuna drummers, and even a king attended the Belize National Youth Chess Foundation’s Chess Olympiad at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan.

The theme was ‘Wildlife Protection. Leave Wildlife Free; Capture only in Chess.” Program Director, Ella Anderson, spoke of the sixth installation of the Olympiad.


Ella Anderson, BNYCF Program Director

Ella Anderson

“It was just incredible to see the music, the costumes, the outfits that they prepared because again everybody that comes here, not only thinks about winning and losing, but they find a link with all the other chess players. It may be hard for people to believe, but the whole chess family is almost two thousand kids and almost everybody know each other because one way or the other, we meet at different events. So when they come here it is not just about the competition.”


Maricela Cocom, East Cayo

“I’ve been playing chess for about three years now. I learnt from my brother. He learned it at school and he taught us so we got involved. It is interesting; it is fun. You learn to think before you do a move and it just keeps your brain going.”


Jose Sanchez

“Your whole family. How many of you actually play chess now?”


Maricela Cocom

Maricela Cocom

“Actually five of the six because the younger one he is still small—he is about five years old. He is trying, but five of us really know how to play. It helps us to think. It helps us to use our brain and think before we do whatever because if you do one mistake on the board, your game is done if you don’t know how to get on track. If you use peer pressure if I do this, I’ll have these consequences and then I believe it helps. Well it helps me.”


One hundred and forty players are sorted out by an internationally recognized Swiss chess program.


David Coombs, Belize National Youth Chess Foundation

David Coombs

“Top competitions that use Swiss program and this gives every player a rating based on their previous tournament. All of our players here have been through about twelve to fifteen tournaments so their rating is quite accurate. Then the computer sorts to tell us who will play against two in each round. How it does that, it takes the top have will play against the bottom half according to rating in the first round and then for the second round, all the players who have won a game will play another player who won their first game. And those players who lost their first game will play a player who lost their first game. At the end of the fourth round, there may be two players in each section who had won all four games. So we go to the fifth round and they are paired against each other and that is the deciding game to see who wins the first prize. We have six sections today, so we will have six champions of their age group.”


Humberto Juarez

Humberto Juarez, Principal, Libertad RC School

“In the Corozal district we have about ten schools that are participating in the chess program so a lot of children there are already involved in the game of chess. And I see it helps them in developing their critical thinking skills and other skills like positive attitude, perseverance and those skills that will make them better citizens in society.”


Unitedville students started their own program in school


Errol Lock, Unitedville RC School

Errol Lock

“Actually the students themselves started the chess clubs. We had no teacher that actually knew chess. We had a chess book but when I was in standard five, I didn’t understand chess like how I do right now. Until Mister Coombs come and teach, I went into one of the classes and watch how he teach and how he moves and I get the moves them. He comes and teach us and the advance players just teach the rest and let the others play from standard one—they start develop; watch how the older kids play and understand the game and so now they stat play. I never had no patience. If people tell me something I get vex. But now that I play chess, I ease down cause you have to think good then play. You learn to develop patience and kindness.”


Gian Cho speaks Spanish but can communicate with Michel Briceño. So Coach Omar Huitz translates for the communicator; it’s a task that shows how complicated Briceño’s day can be.


Omar Huitz, Coach

“Michell was not talking in school as any other normal child. When he saw the chess club and started attending school, he was going in Standard four. Right now it is about two years that he has been in school just because of chess; that is what motivated him to stay in school. He got frustrated because there was no teacher who was prepared to teach him and because he lived nearby the school, he went home. But when the chess started and these guys started they began to play. I don’t know how they have been able to communicate noh.”


One hundred and fifty “best of the best” chess players from across Belize played for the titles of “Best Teams”.  Orange Walk and Stann Creek were undefeated by team scores. So there was an additional game to break the tie and Stann Creek won. Second place went to Orange Walk and third place to East Cayo. In the six individual categories from eight years old to fifteen and over, first place went to: Heizen Loria, Aaron Tamay, Gilbert Tescecum, Vincent Hulse, Jerome Sho and Steve Flowers.


Jose Sanchez

“As the only person from the Belize District present, how does it feel to win your category?”


Steve Flowers

“Well I know that I made my city proud and when I go back home, I will be congratulated by a lot of people.”


Jose Sanchez

Steve, the competition has a lot of décor; that’s to get the kids involved. But for you in the fifteen and older category—your seventeen—what does it really mean for you?”


Steve Flowers

“Well it has been a really good use of my spare time and it is better than being on the streets for one and it is very enjoyable. I really like a challenge and that is the reason why I chose chess.”


Jose Sanchez

“Why is Caves Branch doing this?”


Ella Anderson

“If anybody would try to volunteer and to start some program for the kids, the whole environment, the whole community will be healthy and safer and that is in the interest of everybody, right.”


Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.


This is the sixth year that the Belize National Youth Chess Foundation has been supporting chess throughout Belize. In addition to chess, all the children were participating in learning stilt walking, juggling, kite making and face painting.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

2 Responses for “Youths tell how chess improves the mind at 6th Chess Olympiad”

  1. Storm says:

    Planning moves ahead in chess is great training for planning ahead to win in the game of life. I’m impressed we have so many avid and excellent players.

  2. MadDOG says:

    THE BEST NEWS SO FAR, EDUCATING KIDS , “If anybody would try to volunteer and to start some program for the kids, the whole environment, the whole community will be healthy and safer and that is in the interest of everybody, right.”WAY TO GO ELLA..

You must be logged in to post a comment Login