Caves Branch owners Ian and Ella not only have a passion for adventure but also for helping young people reach their full potentional. To inspire the young people of Belize they founded and run the National Youth Chess Foundation. To give the children and youth a chance to put their chess skill to work, the Chess Foundation brings together the best chess players from across the nation to compete in the Annual Belize National Chess Olympiad. Caves Branch is the main sponsor of the event (along with other local businesses) and the whole CB staff gets involved by setting up, getting in character as knights, and running the event.
Over 200 hundred players participated this year from cities and villages
as far south at Punta Gorda and as far norths as Corozal.
The Olympiad began with pomp and regality, including Garifuna drumming:
and stilt wakers:
The teams entered one by one with their hand-made banners
(the knights along the sides are CB staff):
Then the games began (5 rounds of chess):
200 focused kids:
Between games there was LOTS to do...
get your face painted...
or watch a full-size live chess game:
The day was broadcast live on LoveFM and narrated by International Grand Master Maurice Ashley who flew in from New York:
Tournament directors and volunteers helped from all over the country:
PS- when you come to Caves Branch you'll see the chess castle at the welcome center!
At the end of the busy day hundreds of awards were handed out including: "best player" in each age division, "most respectful player", "best sportsmanship", "best banner", "best female players",
"oldest and youngest players":
and of course "Best Team" overall:
EVERYONE had a great time and even Ian Anderson who was busy all day,
had a little time to laugh with the tournament Queen and King:
TO SEE MORE PICTURES - see the full album on Facebook
TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT CHESS IN BELIZE - visit our chess page