Its a small room inside Kingston's Pegasus, but the atmosphere is like a prep school playground at recess: loud, rapid-fire speech, frenetic activity and an overall sense of impending pandemonium.

In other words, just another day at the Gifted Chess lesson.

Jamaican player-enthusiast Adian Palmer has for several years now been teaching the rudiments of the "king's game" to little princes and princesses - most are within the age group nine to twelve years. Now, with Jamaica having, for the very first time, the distinction of an International Master courtesy of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in the person of Jomo Pitterson, the eyes of the chess world will be turned on Jamaica. President of the Jamaica Chess Federation Ian Wilkinson describes Pitterson as "a true chess 'phenom' adding that very few players, if any, in the region work as hard as he at chess.

Despite their playground demeanor, coach Adrian's charges do emulate the model ascribed to Pitterson, even if they are a bit skittish about speaking of their love for the game. The coach says his best prospects for the next International Master (and maybe Grandmaster) are three youngesters Elias Issa (shown at left in the baove photo), Elric Lee and Ethan Chang, none as old as 12, but each having distinguished himself in the Schools tournament held earlier in the year. Some 30 teams from 16 schools across the island participated in this year’s Championship, Palmer states.

Next up for the kids - the Orange Bowl in Miami in December, but also the Philadelphia Open.

Source: TurboDonkeycart