Keeping in step with scholastic initiatives across the island, the Barbados Chess Federation (BCF) will hold their 1st Schoolgirls' Chess Championship which starts today. About 50 girls are expected to take part in the six-round event which will be held over three consecutive Saturdays. Two rounds will be played per day.
According to an article in the Barbados Daily Nation, the BCF launched an initiative to revitalize women's chess with a specific emphasis on the junior girls. Thus far, the effort has resulted in measurable success. A number of the participating girls played in the National Junior Championship a few weeks ago and made a strong showing. The news article reported,
"Outstanding performances came from Cheri-Ann Parris and Tahira Mitchell of The Lodge School. However, the surprise of the tournament was 13-year-old Corrine Howard of Combermere, who displayed marvelous powers of concentration, patience and a quiet determination to win. She pulled off several upset victories and only missed out on the medals when she failed to press home an early advantage in her last round. "
Barbados put further affirmation that chess has increased in popularity amongst the young female population around the world. The challenge has always been retention of female players once they reach high school and beyond. Nevertheless this initiative by the BCF will most certainly produce the next generation of Olympiad players.
"Chess Challenge for Schoolgirls," Barbados Daily Nation, 23 April 2004.
Barbados Chess Federation