Many parents see competitive activities as not just important, but essential for their children’s success

National Post | News

“Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” booms the announcer at the front of a downtown Toronto ballroom packed with chessboards and pensive children Thursday morning.

The countdown signals the start of Round 2 of the 2013 North American Youth Chess Championship run by the Chess ‘N Math Association this weekend, drawing hundreds of young people ages 7 to 18. It’s also last call for hovering parents, sending them scrambling for the door, some of them eying the double-rows of gleaming trophies at the front of the room before slipping out.

Five minutes later, Darlene White stands a few paces outside of the doors looking stressed. Her son Aidan is inside, going head to head in the under-10 category. She and her husband Ernesto Mirabelli, who live in Georgetown, Ont., will wait right there until their son — a veteran player at age 8 — emerges with either a win or a…

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