About 200 primary and secondary school pupils within the Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) fold will tomorrow engage in battle of brains as the SS Geniuses Schools’ Chess Tournament rolls into action.
SRCL chairperson Wasoka Chirwa said St Andrew’s International High School in Blantyre will be the battlefield for the inaugural contest that will see winners being rewarded with prizes such as classic chess sets, recording books and medals.
“This day-long event will be contested in four categories; Under-12 boys and girls alongside senior boys and senior girls. It is advisable that all contesting pupils should wear uniforms of their respective schools,” he said.
Up-and-coming chess wizard 11-year-old Yebo Sanga said he will contest in the senior boys’ category although he is qualified for the juniors section.
Former SRCL chairperson Susan Namangale and writer Stanley Onjezani Kenani have jointly sponsored the tournament to the tune of K300 000 to develop the young minds through the mental sport.
“We are delighted to sponsor this competition. Empirical evidence shows that chess is essential for young minds to learn and master,” reads the sponsors’ joint statement.
“A book by Dr. Robert Ferguson titled Championship Chess is one of the studies which imply that playing chess well increases spatial, numerical, and administrative skills. There is also improvement in logic, creativity and IQ. Chess has also been found to increase both mathematics and verbal skills.”
According to Namangale, the decision to bankroll the event was inspired by the exploits of prominent Ugandan national women champion Candidate Master (CM) Phiona Mutesi, who developed chess talent from a harsh background but now she is a big name such that there is a Hollywood movie Queen of Katwe based on her life. n