Department launches chess league

2017-05-31 06:00
From the left are Kabetswe Ndzeku, Steve Botsane (chairperson of Chess Ambassador) and Itumeleng Rathaba. Photo: Teboho Setena

From the left are Kabetswe Ndzeku, Steve Botsane (chairperson of Chess Ambassador) and Itumeleng Rathaba. Photo: Teboho Setena

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The Free State Department of Education recently launched a chess league for primary schools in the province.

The launch took place at the Kamohelo Primary School in Bloemfontein and scores of learners of more than ten schools attended.

The project targets learners in the foundation phase.

The department announced that about 3 000 sets of chess equipment have been donated to 729 primary schools across the province.

According to the MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe, chess is significant in helping learners to take initiative, be more creative and solve problems.

“Chess develops and enhances mental capacity. This, in turn, will improve their performance in the classroom,” said Makgoe.

Khoarai Khoarai, deputy director general of the department, said that chess also improved decision-making and concentration levels. He said each learner would be expected to participate in chess tournaments.

After successfully piloting a chess league in primary schools, the department plans on rolling out a league in high schools at a later stage.

One of the league’s coaches, Steve Botsane, the chairperson of Chess Ambassador, encouraged the learners to participate in local events in order to master the game.

He said he believed active participation would enable them to be competitive at international level.

Botsane urged donors to sponsor Kabetswe Ndzeku (11), who is doing exceptionally well. She is a Gr. 6 learner at the Matla Primary School in Bloemfontein.

Kabetswe took the second position at the 2016 South African chess championship.

Her family struggles to raise enough transport money to enable her to compete in tournaments. They reside in Phase 6.

“She plays a highly tactical game for her age. Let’s nurture her talent,” Botsane said.

He said he hoped that the establishment of the Mangaung Chess Club would make it possible to harness talent and produce competitive players at all levels.

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