The Simcoe County chess tournament is back for the first time since 2019 and more than 100 of the area's best players will competing for top spot.
The event will be held Wednesday at the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Education Centre in Midhurst from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Pekka Reinio, who is a teacher and also oversees and organizes the event, said that chess is an old game that remains popular with students all across the region.
“Players as young as eight years old have been eagerly waiting for the opportunity to compete against their peers, face-to-face, in official school tournaments," he said. "The excitement and enthusiasm at area tournaments has been incredible.
“The tournament will be the culmination of many months of preparation for these top 130 players and another chance to test their mettle over the chess board," Reinio added.
Ranging from Collingwood to Orillia to Bradford to Alliston, participating players have placed in the top-four in area tournaments held across the county over the past month.
The March 29 event will feature the best players from Grade 4 to 8 competing for the first time across from each other since the pandemic began.
Reinio says he's glad students will get to experience an in-person for the tournament. He believes it provides a lot of positivity and is great for youth mental health.
“First and foremost, playing chess is fun and provides a great opportunity for students to be involved with a school team," he said. "It is said that playing chess develops problem-solving skills, logical thinking skills, concentration, creativity, and memory skills.
"I would add that playing chess on a school team teaches good sportsmanship and boosts self-esteem.”
This will be the final Simcoe County school tournament of the year and while the season is over, Reinio encourages all players to continue to develop their skills and look for open tournaments ramping up across the province.