Chess Excitement comes to Paramin

Children of Paramin show their delight after taking part in the first chess course and tournament held in the mountain side village. With them are officials of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and the T&T Chess Foundation. Back row, third and fourth from left, are Darryl Smith and Eddison Raphael. At right is Councillor Catherine Mendez.

Nestling in the verdant foothills of the Northern Range, the village of Paramin has acquired a character of its own. Apart from its well known agricultural pursuits, the settlement is the traditional home of parang music and a "native" pride that keeps the picturesque practice of patois alive.

Now the sport of chess is bringing a fresh excitement to the quiet life of Paramin, particularly among its young people. Over the last six weeks, the T&T Chess Foundation has conducted an introductory chess course there, ending last Sunday with an enthusiastic five-round rapid-play tournament and the expectation that the mind game will take root in Paramin with the formation of a permanent chess club.

The exercise, held at the Paramin Development Committee Activity Centre, attracted a total of 47 participants. It was a further extension of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation's Youth Scholarship programme which was launched at the Carenage Community Centre earlier this year. Brain child of Corporation Chairman Darryl Smith, the programme offers young people of Diego Martin opportunities to engage in various forms of sport, including chess, and to win scholarships in the process.

Speaking at the close of the Paramin course, Smith thanked the Foundation for its efforts and parents of the area for their cooperation. He revealed that the chess programme will move to Covigne Road next and visualised, at the end of it, a climaxing tournament in one central venue involving all participants.

The Paramin contest was won by Kristian Boisselle who conceded a draw on the last round, finishing on four and a half.

Top female was Alesha Forde-Isidore who played unbeaten to score four points along with third placed Dominic Eugene. Fourth and fifth places went to Gerrel Romany and Arianna Constantine, both on three and a half. Behind them, on three, were Titian Constantine, Katrina Constantine, Omari Meade and Enrico Sirjoo.

For purposes of recording history, DR gives the names of other participants in Paramin's first chess competition: Celine Constantine, Jorden Whiskey, Leanne Constantine, Dana Eugene, Kristina Constantine, Tiffany Felix, Adam Eugene, Eveanna Sirjoo, Aaron Eugene, Maria Benn, Joshua John, Imari Isidore. Trophies were presented to the first three boys and the first three girls. The other participants received medals of participation.

The course was conducted by Carlyle Singh, Foundation official and experienced chessplayer. Assisting him was Venezuelan master Cesar Ramos. T&TCF president Eddison Raphael outlined the role and activity of the Foundation in teaching chess to the country's youngsters, emphasizing the free Sunday morning classes held at the National Library in Port-of-Spain.

Councillor Catherine Mendez, representing the St Lucian/Cameron district of the Corporation, expressed her keen support for the Paramin chess effort. "As a necessary follow-up, we hope to encourage parents and teachers of Paramin RC School to form a chess club which will offer an extra-curricular activity," she told DR. "Also, several businessmen in the district are supporting the initiative."

Her enthusiasm was based on the benefits which the children of Paramin stood to gain from participation in the globe-girdling mind game. "First, the competitive activity would stimulate their youthful interest," she said. "Then it would help them to become more disciplined and focused in their thinking and boost their decision making skills."

"We have to thank parents for allowing their children to participate in such an educational activity," she added.