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Highlights of Our Trip to El Salvador

Chess Is Alive and Well

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Due to Jonathan's interest in chess, he was very eager to find opponents in El Salvador. At first we didn't know anyone who played, so he started "creating" his own by teaching some of his young cousins to play, but as word spread that Jonathan was anxious to play, he started finding more and more people who enjoyed the game as much as he. Click to enlarge One of them is his cousin Juan Antonio, an 18 year old college student. He was a worthy opponent and pretty even with Jonathan. Another is Nelson a sort of cousin (in-law), who prefaced his first match by the words "I haven't really played in about 10 years." Still, he hasn't forgotten much and was a worthy opponent.

Click to enlarge As we found out there is a strong chess community in El Salvador, with clubs meeting in all the major towns. While we were there, we went to see a chess tournament in San Salvador. Here we found a huge hall filled with chessboards and clocks and people playing. It didn't take Jonathan long to play a pickup game or two. Click to enlarge One thing that was interesting to note was that there are a lot of female players. In fact at this big event a very good-looking young girl was the champion.

The next day there were going to be some exhibition games at a major hotel, with international grand masters participating. Regretably we couldn't attend.

Click to enlarge picture Jonathan also played quite a few games (around 30) with his uncle Toņo who is an excellent chess player; and Jonathan enjoyed the challege of playing him even though he never won a game (or maybe one). Maybe when Jonathan grows more he will be a tougher challenger.

All in all, we realized that chess is still played (and well) in this small country.

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