RADHICA DE SILVA
Six years after they started playing Chess, the Balliram Brothers of San Fernando TML Primary School have emerged winners of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Association (TTCA) Second National Individual Primary School Chess Championship.
The competition was held last Saturday at C3 Centre in Corinth, San Fernando. Fifty -six participants from 27 schools participated in the competition.
The Balliram twins Tristan and Taydan told Guardian Media their goal now is to enter more international tournaments.
Both of them scored 5.5 points each while Alexandra Kumar of Scarborough RC Primary School had a score of 5.
Smiling as they were given the 2022 National Primary School Champion Challenge Trophy, the brothers said chess had improved the quality of their academic lives as they continued to be straight-A students in all subject areas.
The twins as well as Aiden Tinnie and Samaara Ali scored a total of 17 points which earned them the trophy.
Cedar Grove Private Primary had won the competition last year but this time, they placed second to San Fernando TML with a score of 14.5, thanks to the commendable efforts of the Allum brothers- Adrian and Dominic; Denae Headley and Karishma Rampersad.
The third-place winner was Maria Regina Grade School which scored 13.5 points.
The Best Female performance went to Adaya Johnson of Maria Regina Grade School.
Thanking players, coaches, school principals, and parents for their continued support in keeping the sport of chess alive despite the challenges of Covid-19, officials of the TTCA also paid tribute to Chief Arbiter, FA Roderick Noel, and assistant arbiters, David Martin, Keevin James, and TTCA Secretary Sandy Razark.
The twins were first enrolled in a chess class when they were five years old along with their elder brother Luke.
Their mother Tisha Balliram said the cognitive skills her children learned from the game have given them patience, time management skills, and analytical thinking far beyond their years.
Multiple studies have confirmed that chess improves academic performance, concentration, logical thinking, judgment, creativity, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and social skills.
It also reduces anxiety, depression, and the risk of getting Alzheimer's and dementia as it improves brain functions.
Principal of San Fernando TML Wahida Mohammed-Narine and Standard Five teacher Shazara Mohammed commended all students for participating in the competition. All trophies are expected to be displayed at the school as an incentive for other budding chess players.