By Darius Boamah, V&V Contributing Writer

With the hot summer sun beaming down this past Saturday, San Diego’s second chess tournament took place in Downtown’s Waterfront park.

Chess Tournament. (Photo: Darius Boamah).

With the heat advisory in place, measures were taken to keep children and families cool during the event. 

“There’s a lot of shade, we tried to put canopies over each table and we also have a lot of water,” said Christine LaFontant, a region manager for the Dounty of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreations.

Being the second tournament, some players were returners. Like the Sharme family. Their daughter participated in last year’s tournament and they came out again to enjoy the day and have fun playing chess. 

“It’s a good forum, you have the players coming from all around the city,” Mr. Divya Sharme said.

As the organizer for the tournament, LaFontant stressed the importance of making this event accessible to the entire county.

“We provided free parking for the families…we even offered transportation if they didn’t have their own cars to actually get here.”

The Sharme family speaks with a parks and recreations officer who was at the tournament. (Photo: Darius Boamah).

According to LaFontant, the tournament brought in about 40 players from around the city. The players were organized into different groups based on their age. It began with Knights, aged 10 and under, then Rooks, aged 11-12, and finally, the Royals, who are 13 and older. 

LaFontant organized the event to ensure that skill level or age wouldn’t be a restriction for kids to come play. Chess is a game that is for everyone. In her office, they like to focus on youth and youth development, and a game like chess is great for this reason.

“Chess is another recreation activity that we hadn’t really tapped into,” LaFontant started. “It’s a really strategic game so it doesn’t just teach them how to play this game, but it’s also how to think about things and consequences and thinking about the future, it’s not just the moment.”

Nathan Fletcher’s office sponsored the tournament. They raised money through neighborhood reinvestment funds. With the money raised by his office, the tournament provided lunch for the players and their families.

LaFontant plans to keep this tournament going, “Hopefully this will be an annual event now. It’s the second one, so now we just got to keep it going, maybe expand it even,” LaFontant said.

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