Before boarding their flight to Jamaica, the Junior Chess Team had the privilege of meeting the Director of Sports, Timothy Munnings, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture, Calvin Balfour. These kind gentlemen expressed their immense pride in the team and wished the members success as they represent the country in the CARIFTA tournament.
Once we landed in Jamaica, we were taken directly to the Jamaica Conference Center, where the Opening Ceremony was about to begin. Several important government officials spoke, as did Ian Wilkinson, the long-time president of the Jamaica Chess Federation. The teams from six countries were called to the stage, with Jamaica's massive delegation introduced last. Of the 175 players registered, at least 145 of them are from Jamaica! Even more impressive was Mr. Wilkinson's declaration that more than 15,000 Jamaican students have been introduced to chess over the past 4 years.
A lot seems to be happening in Jamaican chess, and a lot will be happening for the Bahamas team starting today when round 1 of 7 begins!