By Michelle Poirier

Bruce Braund, a grade 1 student at Keswick Public School, is headed for the Canadian Chess Challenge Ontario Championships after qualifying during the Optimist Club of Keswick’s chess tournament earlier this month.

Bruce will compete at the 2024 Chess Challenge held by the Chess’n Math Association on April 21, at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

Alicia Braund, Bruce’s mom, said Bruce has demonstrated exceptional skill and determination and earned first place in his grade. He competed solely against grade 3 candidates in the qualifying tournament.

The championship will separate the participants into groups, kindergarten to grade 3, grade 4 to 6, and grade 7 to 12.


Braund said Bruce started playing chess after Mr. Maris, a teacher at Keswick Public School, initiated a chess club for the students on his own time.

Bruce signed up and discovered his love for the game.

“I love checkmating! Checkmating means the king is stuck and he cannot move any further. This is one way to win and I like winning. My goal is to be a grandmaster,” Bruce said.

Braund said along with growing his chess skills during lunch and recess with his coach Mr. Maris, Bruce is also a player on the Georgina 8U Bulldogs Baseball Team (OBA), and focused on learning French at school.

“The championship promises to be a thrilling event, showcasing the talents of the region’s most skilled chess players,” Braund said.

“Bruce’s participation adds an exciting dynamic to the competition and highlights the depth of talent present in Ontario’s chess community and a delightful representation of talent in Georgina.”

Bruce encourages anyone interested in playing chess to give it a try.

“Chess is good for your brain because it teaches you strategy, you make friends, and you can win,” Bruce said.

For more information on the championship, you can visit

The Georgina Chess Academy (GCA) is also back for its second year.

The spring session runs for 8 weeks, on Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at The Georgina Community Church (1816 Metro Rd, Jacksons Point). The GCA provides free chess classes, from beginner to ranked, for kids aged 7 to 16.

To find out more email Alice Burrows at