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HomeNewsLocal sportsV.I. Students Compete at National K-12 Scholastic Chess Tournament in D.C.

V.I. Students Compete at National K-12 Scholastic Chess Tournament in D.C.

Participants at the National K-12 Scholastic Chess Tournament in Washington D.C. in 2023. (Submitted photo)

A total of 12 students from the U.S Virgin Islands participated in the National K-12 Chess Scholastic Chess tournament in Washington D.C., from March 31 to April 3 and returned home on April 4, with many accolades. This national event was organized by the United States Chess Federation.

Virgin Islands team at National K-12 Scholastic Chess Tournament. (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. (Submitted photo)

This year, over 3,000 of the best chess-playing students from across the nation and the U.S. Virgin Islands came together at the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. to represent their states, schools and clubs. This was a seven-round chess tournament that lasted for four days. The 12 student participants from the 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.

The USVI 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.

Overall Performance

  • 7 of the V.I. 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.
  • Abram Williams, who is home-schooled, scored in all his games and won a bronze medal with a 5.5-point score. (Submitted photo)

    The other students who scored 3.5 and better are Tendaji Davis (5.0) who attends the Montessori School; Eli Blondeau (5.0) who attends Antilles; Dillen Webbe (4.0) who attends Antilles; Ajay Mirpuri (4.0) who attends the Antilles School; Gerlanni Straun (3.5) who attends Addelita Cancryn School; Natik Jhanwar (3.5) who attends All Saints; and Jermaine Jones (3.5) who attends the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. The performance and behavior of the five other USVI students were admirable.

Note: The trophy rules for this tournament were changed. If students had scored the same results under the 2019 or 2022 rules, seven of the 12 V.I. students would have received a trophy. The new rule has shifted from a 3.5 to a 5.5 score to receive a medal.

The Virgin Islands National K-12 Scholastic Chess team at the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. (Submitted photo)

At the end of this chess event, the V.I. students, coaches and parent chaperones took a historic tour of Washington D.C. The team visited the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Statue, Arlington Ceremony and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where they 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 the Youth Scholastic Chess Club students and made it possible for them to participate in this K-12 national event.  Their suggestions, words of encouragement and financial support were greatly appreciated. The Chess would especially like to thank the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II for supporting the 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.

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