Former world chess champion Gary Kasparov states that having classes with chess at an early age radically improves the skills of the kids such as learning, processing of information as well as making decisions.
“Chess is a tool, not a recipe for all education problems, but it’s a very inexpensive and a very effective tool,” the 53-year-old champion of the game said.
“We have plenty of data collected from around the world that proves beyond any doubt that classes with chess, especially at an early age - six to nine - dramatically improve the skills of the kids, to learn how to process information and make decisions,” said Kasparov.
Kasparov wants to bring the game to a million children in Africa as an educational tool to sharpen their learning skills and build confidence. He also reiterated that it is prudent to fight the predisposition that it is only particular countries that can produce chess champions.
Through his foundation, the Kasparov’s Foundation, pilot schools will be selected across Africa to be provided with learning kits as well as training of teachers in chess. The aim of this will be reach a million children in the next five years.
Kasparov foundation has already introduced chess in school programmes around the world. Kasparov notes that he has found that there is passion for success in developing countries. “They are willing to work harder.” Kasparov, who became the youngest world chess champion in 1985 at age 22, retired from the game in 2005.
This comes after Disney cast a spotlight on ten-year-old Ugandan chess queen, Phiona Mutesi in the movie Queen of Katwe. The movie showed the real possibilities that the game of chess could provide to young African children.
Kenya boasts of great chess talent. In April 2017 the country won the inaugural Africa Zone 4.2 under 16 Youth Team Chess Championship.