Cave Branch jungle lodge hosted the advanced chess training by Maurice Ashley last week and the Grand Master was impressed by the increased quality of play, since his last visit just 6 months ago, as well as the kindness and respect exhibited by the young players.
The players attending the training were: Steve Flowers and Dwayne Rodriquez from Belize district; Ivor Pixabaj, Kris Sanchez and Rick Pascasio from Stann Creek, Estevan Coy and Macheavor Choc from Toledo; Orvin Carillo from Corozal and Jose Zavala from Orange Walk. All players attending the advance training were selected by their district chess associations. Attending coaches were Brian Chun of Stann Creek, Jose Teul from Toledo, David Coombs from Cayo west, Ella Anderson from Cayo East, David Martinez from Belize district and Kevin Fraiser from Orange Walk and Humberto Juarez from Corozal.
In his own words:
"The last few days I spent training the top young chess players in Belize were unbelievable. The kids are amazing, incredibly talented, and completely respectful. Just in the last six months since I was here last, their skills have grown by leaps and bounds. They would absolutely give some of my top students here in the States a run for their money. They are indeed becoming true chess players.
Of course, all of this is happening because of the dedication of the Belize National Youth Chess Foundation and their incredible leader, Ella Baron. She is a force of nature! Add to that her dedicated staff of volunteers from all over the country, and one can understand why in a couple of years the world will sit up and take note of what's happening in this small country. I truly consider myself blessed to be a part of the chess movement in Belize; I can't wait to return!"