Nelligan’s liberal Quebec MNA, Monsef Derraji, hopes that the first chess tournament of its kind on West Island will help promote the game and encourage schools to adopt a chess club.

“When I was young, I loved to play chess,” Derraji said. “It helped me, so I wanted to share this passion with my constituents and I want to promote a chess culture within schools.”

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Derraji says that he came up with the idea of ​​holding a chess tournament to encourage all schools in their riding to adopt a chess club.

“After the pandemic, we need to be in contact and have more social activities with the schools and especially with the elementary schools,” he said.

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The Gerlad Godin College in Pierrefonds hosted the first tournament. Around 70 participants from seven different primary and secondary schools participated.

Each player got five 10-minute matches and was matched for age and skill level. For many of the participants, it was their first time playing in a tournament on Saturday. Some were as young as six or seven years old.

“I like that we can play with our minds and we have time to think and show what we’re good at,” said seven-year-old Ella.

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“This is a great initiative,” Bopala said. “I hope that we will see the interest of the younger generation and we hope that this tournament will help promote the game of chess in Quebec.”

Although this was the first tournament of its kind on West Island, Dejarri is confident that it will not be the last.

There were no prize money for this tournament, mostly just bragging rights. But Dejarri says he will support any riding school that wants to adopt a chess club.

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