Story by Mthokozisi Dube
MORE than 300 junior chess players participated in the inaugural junior chess championships held in Bulawayo.
Chess mates academy in partnership with the Bulawayo Chess Association staged an inaugural junior chess tournament in a move meant to spread the game to all corners of the country.
Previously, chess has been viewed as an elite sport but this Saturday saw learners from different parts of the country participating in the tournament, budding players believe staging more of these tournaments will help to unearth chess talent.
“When I heard about this tournament, I told myself that is should be there, I have played my first round of the game and I am seeing a bright future in my career,” said a participant.
Chess Mate Academy has been involved with the nurturing of junior chess talent in Bulawayo and has been to Victoria Falls as part of efforts to revive the sport said the academy’s director Prisca Sibanda.
Upsound—“Sibanda we have been doing a lot in promoting the sport but we realised that learners from rural areas are left behind hence we decided to come up with this one. Our aim is to take the sport to all corners of the country,”
The Bulawayo Chess Association is confident hosting more of junior chess tournaments will raise interest in the sport among young learners.
“As Bulawayo Chess Association we are in full support of these junior chess tournaments because they are a foundation to our sport. We, however, believe we should play our part with the Zimbabwe chess association by holding officials clinics for our officials,” said Bulawayo chess association treasurer, Admire Moyo.
The revival of chess at the grassroots level is however marred by a shortage of FIDE-rated officials, a move which is stalling the growth of the sport in line with revolving game rules.