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Saint Joseph’s Ryan Girard, Zachary Rivard and Carson Lisk all won gold medals during their school’s annual chess tournament. They’re shown above with tournament organizer, teacher and chess coach Angélique Guillemette.

Little chess champs

by Brad Aubin

Nearly 100 students from four different schools across the area participated in a chess tournament at Saint-Joseph elementary school on Thursday, January 31.

The tournament featured students from Grades 1 to 3 from Saint-Joseph and Résurrection schools in Sturgeon Falls, Christ-Roi in River Valley and Ste-Marguerite d’Youville in Verner.

Saint-Joseph teacher and longtime chess enthusiast Angélique Guillemette was excited with the turnout.

“It went so well,” she beamed. “We’ve been holding these tournaments for awhile now and the kids always have a blast and always learn new things. That’s what it’s all about! All of the children pitted up against each other depending on their grade, and whoever won the most games took first place. If multiple students had the same amount of points, they were awarded their medals as well.”

A few years ago, a provincial initiative was launched to encourage the creation of chess clubs within classrooms. Guillemette, who was teaching sixth grade at the time, volunteered in the project. She had to learn the game from the ground up and saw the benefits first hand.

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