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Junior Orange Bowl holds annual international chess tournament

Junior Orange Bowl holds annual international chess tournament

Pictured are (l-r, back row) Sue Girogi of Miami Dade College, Junior Orange Bowl (JOB) executive director Mark Pidal, JOB president Dallas Brown, JOB Queen Mikayla Panariello, JOB Princess Tiffany Rivera, Florida Scholastic Chess League Commissioner Elizabeth Tejada, JOB Chess director Tiffany Kennedy; (front row) Steven Godoy from Ecuador, Calvin Tjong-Tjing-Joe from Suriname, and Reinaldo Perez from Southwest Miami Senior High.

Some of the world’s best youth chess players competed in the 13th Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship on Dec. 27-29 at the Embassy Suites Hotel Miami International Airport.

International players from Central and South America, and the Caribbean, made the trip to compete in this prestigious tournament.

The Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship is comprised of local, national, and international participants; bringing people together from all over the world. For many young chess players, the Championship is the perfect opportunity not only to sharpen their mental skills, but also test their abilities against players from all different backgrounds and nationalities.

“Chess is much more than a game as it develops important life skills such as patience, planning, and strategy,” said Tiffany Kennedy, chair of the Championship. “The Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championship is the perfect opportunity for youths to continue to develop these skills, while having fun at the same time.”

This year’s tournament featured an increase in local participation as many South Florida area high schools and middle schools were represented. Elizabeth Tejada of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Title I Chess Program also attended in support of the local public schools.

Miami Dade College presented a $2,000 scholarship to Steven Godoy of Ecuador for his performance at the tournament. Miami-Dade College was the biggest single sponsor of the International Scholastic Chess Championship, and used the tournament as a recruiting tool for its chess program. Godoy has traveled from Ecuador to participate in this tournament for three years.

Five individual and four team championships were awarded. The winners were as young as 6 and 7 years of age as Nathan Walsh (6) of Jamaica and Dario Martin (7) of Miami won the six & under and 9 & under divisions respectively. Other winners included Carlos D. Hoyos of Coral Cove Elementary in the 10-12 division, Frank Hauser of South Broward High School in the 13-15, and Reinaldo Perez of Southwest Miami Senior High School in the 16-19 division. The team from Jamaica took home the 9 & under trophy, while 3 Kings and a Queen from Miami won the 10-12 division, Hialeah Gardens Middle School won the 13- 15, and Southwest Miami Senior High was the champion in the 16-19 division.

For more information on the Junior Orange Bowl Committee, call 305-662-1210 or visit the website at www.jrorangebowl.org.