BY ÁILÍN QUINLAN
A GROUP of West Cork schoolboys have walked away with not just first prize – but second as well – from a prestigious chess competition.
Around eight schools participated in the Cork City Chess League, but it was Scoil na mBuachailli, from Clonakilty, which has participated in the League since 1999, which this year walked away in triumph.
At the event, which has run since the 1970’s was held in Greenmount and Crab Lane Primary Schools over three days last month, two teams from the West Cork school’s fifth and sixth classes won both first and second prizes in the competition.
The Clonakilty school’s ‘A’ team, comprised of Dylan O’Donovan, William Chen, Eoghan Ferguson and Conor Minihan took first prize, while the ‘B’ team, comprising David Price, Dan Peet, Daniel Daly and Chinaza Ogwudiegwu took second.
St Anthony’s National School, Ballinlough came third, and Crab Lane came fourth.
‘We are delighted at the boys’ achievement,’ said principal Barth Harrington, who, along with teacher Gavin O’Riordan runs the school’s extra-curricular programme every Tuesday and Wednesday between October and April.
‘Our pupils play chess as an extra-curricular activity, and it’s hugely popular here with our fourth, fifth and sixth class pupils – in all we have more than 70 pupils who play chess every week.’
Playing chess has a variety of intellectual and social benefits for children, Mr Harrington said.
‘It’s very good for on-the-spot strategic thinking and planning, and they also learn how to operate as party of a team, as well as meeting other children from different classes within our school and from different schools around Cork,’ he added.
‘The benefits are very far-reaching.’