Jamaican News

Jamaican Government Invests $40 Million in Chess Development to Produce Grandmaster

In a bold move aimed at fostering sports development and achieving excellence in the strategic game of chess, the Jamaican Government, through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), has allocated a substantial grant of $40 million to the Jamaica Chess Federation. This landmark investment marks a significant step towards realizing the vision outlined by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, to produce a Jamaican Chess Grandmaster within the next decade.

The announcement came during a ceremony held at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in New Kingston on Wednesday, March 20, where Minister Clarke reiterated the government’s commitment to positioning chess as the “next frontier” for Jamaica to excel internationally. Highlighting the island’s rich potential in the sport, Minister Clarke noted the pioneering achievements of Maurice Ashley, the first black Grandmaster who hails from Jamaica, as evidence of the nation’s prowess in chess.

Underpinning this ambitious initiative is a collaborative effort between the Jamaica Chess Federation, the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), and the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) to promote chess at the grassroots level, particularly in primary schools across the country. This holistic approach seeks to integrate chess into the educational curriculum, recognizing its role in fostering discipline and concentration among students.

In addition to the substantial grant for chess development, the government also allocated funds to support other sporting endeavors. Notably, a cheque valued at $2 million was presented to the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica to facilitate their participation in the upcoming CARIFTA Aquatics Championships. Furthermore, $350,000 was earmarked for Mona Preparatory School to aid their involvement in the 12th annual Junior Florida Netball Classic.

Ministers Olivia Grange and Fayval Williams, present at the ceremony, expressed their support for the initiatives, urging recipients to utilize the funds effectively and serve as proud ambassadors for Jamaica. Minister Williams emphasized the educational benefits of chess, underscoring its capacity to instill valuable life skills in students.

The grant handover ceremony symbolizes the government’s steadfast commitment to nurturing talent and promoting sports development across the nation. With this significant investment, Jamaica aims to solidify its position as a force to be reckoned with in the international chess arena, while simultaneously empowering its youth through the timeless game of strategy and intellect.

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