A Resurgence of Chess in the Virgin Islands!
Unrated Comradery Tournament at Area Code Sports Bar
April 7-8, 2023
This tournament was just for fun and to give inexperienced players an opportunity to practice notation and use a clock. It started out with 12 participants, ended up with 15 and two observers who play, didn't realize there was any chess going on in STX and intend to join a USVICA club and start playing more regularly. It is truly amazing how the number of strong players scattered throughout St. Croix are coming together and discovering the deep and meaningful connections that chess provokes.
The National K-12 Scholastic Chess Tournament
A total of twelve students from the U.S Virgin Islands participated in the National K-12 Scholastic Chess tournament in Washington DC, from March 31st to April 3rd and returned home on April 4th, with much accolade. This national event was organized by the United States Chess Federation.
This year, over three thousand of the best chess playing students from across our nation and the U.S. Virgin Islands, merged at the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. to represent their states, schools, and clubs. This was a seven round chess tournament that lasted for four days. The 12 student participants from our Youth Scholastic Chess Club on St. Thomas (STYSCC), and members of the Virgin Islands Chess Association achieved an overall performance that was nothing short of commendable. Our students were often praised by many coaches on the national level for their playing abilities and overall attitude.
In a seven round National chess tournament, any score that is 3.5 or better is a good score.
7 of our 12 students scored a 3.5 or better.
1 student, Abram Williams, who is home schooled, scored in all his games and won a bronze medal with a 5.5-point score. He received his medal on the big stage in the presence of thousands of students and coaches, and he represented the Virgin Islands with pride. He was also placed 3rd in the 9th grade category.
The other students who scored 3.5 and better were Tendaji Davis, (5.0) he attends the Montessori school. Eli Blondeau (5.0) he attends Antilles, Dillen Webbe (4.0) he attends Antilles, Ajay Mirpuri (4.0) he attends Antilles, Gerlanni Straun (3.5) he attends the Addelita Cancryn, Natik Jhanwar (3.5) he attends All Saints, and Jermaine Jones (3.5) he attends the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. The performance and behavior of our other 5 students were admirable.
Note: The trophy rules for this tournament were changed. If our students had scored the same results under the 2019 or 2022 rules, seven of our 12 students would have received a trophy. The new rule has shifted from a 3.5 to a 5.5 score to receive a medal.
At the end of this chess event, our students, coaches, and parent chaperones, took an historic tour of Washington DC. We visited the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Statue, Arlington Ceremony, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guards. They saw the White House, the Mint, the FBI building, and the Capitol.
A big thank you to all who assisted STYSCC students and made it possible for our students to participate in this K-12 national event. Your suggestions, words of encouragement, and financial support were greatly appreciated. We would especially like to thank the Rotary Club of St. Thomas 11 for supporting our Youth Scholastic Chess Club and providing some of the necessary funds that helped with the airfare for many of these students. This trip would not be possible without the continuous support of the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II.
Seated from left to right:
Natik Jhanwar, Tendaji Davis, Ajay Mirpuri, Lynzo Abraham, Taragee Gumbs, Shorri Dominique—Standing from Left to right. Jermaine Jones, Dillen Webbe, Ger’lanni Straun, Jaynel Benjamin, Abram Williams, Marco Emile-student coach, and Eli Blondeau
VI students getting ready for one of the chess rounds
VI student wearing his bronze medal
VI student posing with a Grand Master
VI students in front of the Martin Luther King Monument
STT Scholastic Chess Tournament, March 4, 2023
The St. Thomas/St. John Youth Scholastic Chess Club conducted a scholastic chess tournament on Saturday, March 4th at the Addelita Cancryn Middle School. The winners of this event are:
9 Years and Under
1st Place__ Roman Overmyer, Antilles School
2nd Place__ Lois Williams, Home Schooles
3rd Place__ Amarissa Etienne, Calvary Acaademy
12 Years and Above
1st Place__ Tendaji Davis, Montessori
2nd Place__ Leah Williams, Home Schooled
3rd Place__ Amajah Etienne, Calvary Academy
13 Years and Above
1st Place__ Abram Williams, Home Schooled
2nd Place__ Ger'Lanni Straum, Addelita Cancryn Middle School
3rd Placa__ Ajay Muripuri, Antilles School
Front row from left to right__ Roman Overmyer, Lois Williams, and Amarissa Etienne
Middle row from left to right__ Tenjadi Davis, Leah Williams, and Amajah Etienne
Back row from left to right__ Abram Williams, Ger'Lanni Straum, and Ajay Muripuri
St. Croix Fun & Skill Building Tournament
January 21-22, 2023
12 participants (8 men, 4 women)
An especially intense and interesting game
Analyzing their games
1st Place: Mayte Funtanilla (center)
2nd Place: John Dempsey (right)
3rd Place: Michael Bokeno (left)
From left to right:
Lon Newman (amazing doner, assistant organizer, assistant tournament director), Gail Widmer (assistant organizer), Jeremy Thibodeaux (amazing tournament director & organizer)
The Second Scholastic Chess Tournament for 2022 on December 17th in STT
The Second Open Chess Tournament for 2022
Our lovely venue at the RT Park
1st Place Winner: Mayte Funtanilla
14 Guests from STT
The First Open Chess Tournament for 2022
Over the St. Thomas Carnival weekend, the USVI Chess Association held the first Virgin Islands Open Chess Tournament at Lockhart Elementary School. There were 27 participants from both St. Croix and St. Thomas, ranging in age from very young to senior, and ranging in skill from beginner to FIDE Master (FM). The tournament director, Jon Haskel, broadcast many of the games online and on the USVI Chess Association website making it possible for the public to view and enjoy watching the games live as they were happening.
This is the first inter-island chess event of this magnitude in a very long time. This tournament was open to all Virgin Islanders as well as off-island guests and chess players everywhere.
Pictured below are the winners of the first USVI Chess Association Open Chess Tournament.
From left to right:
FM Will Van Rensselaer (1st place, open)
Darryl Allen (2nd place, open)
Eli Blondeau (tied, 2nd place, under 1000)
Stefan Todman (tied, 2nd place, under 1000)
Abram Williams (tied, 2nd place, under 1000)
Eve Williams (tied, 2nd place, under 1000)
Rohan Nagi (3rd place, open)
The First Scholastic Chess Tournament for the 2022-23 School Year
When: October 1, 2022
Where: Lockhart Elementary School, St. Thomas
Chess Tournament Winners by Category:
9 Years and Under:
Tucker Edwards (Homeschool)
Roman Overmyer (Antilles School)
Jamiel Canton (Yvonne Bowsky Elementary School)
13 Years and Above:
Eli Blondeau (Antilles School)
Jermaine Jones (IEKHS)
Naitik Jhanwar (All Saints Cathedral School)
GM Nigel Short's Visit to the Caribbean
Nigel David Short MBE is an English chess grandmaster, columnist, commentator and, since October 2018, Vice-President of FIDE. Short earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 19, and was ranked third in the world by FIDE from July 1988 to July 1989.
First stop St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then Dominica, then the British Virgin Islands, then St. Thomas on October 26, then finally St. Croix from October 26 through November 1, 2021
Playing Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island
On St. Thomas, October 26
Talking to students about the value of chess at Good Hope Country Day School on October 28
Playing Nico at the Domino Club on October 29
The simultaneous exhibition at Ziggy's on St. Croix, on Saturday, October 30, 2021