This helps the mind

2015-09-03 06:00

Members of Sinako High School Chess Club with their teacher Petrus Fortuin are determined to learn more about the game. 

Mbongiseni Maseko

Members of Sinako High School Chess Club with their teacher Petrus Fortuin are determined to learn more about the game. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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A humble, unsolicited gift from a Khayelitsha mother to her son has resulted in two learners sharing the gift with many more at their school.

Sinako High School now boasts a chess movement.

It all started with Zandiswa Arosi giving her son, Lindokuhle a chessboard complete with its rooks, queens and knights.

Arhosi, from Makhaza in Khayelitsha, then recruited other schoolmates, and today, the club has about 33 members in its ranks at the school.

Arhosi started playing with his friend Zolani Mase until his accounting teacher, Petrus Fortuin, also a chess enthusiast spotted them playing and the idea of a chess club was born.

“We have grown in numbers and more and more learners have taken interest in the sport. We have been a club since last year and to date we have members as young as 12 years old,” said Mase.

They approached the school and asked for the use of the vacant class and extra boards with which they then started to train other learners.

According Arosi “More and more are approaching learners us and are developing an interest in the sport,” he added.

Mase said that they were happy that other learners were sharing their love of the sport as it seen as developing intelligence in its players.

“Chess is pretty much like life. There are rules and there are ways of doing things so you must be very critical of every move you make.

One bad decision can cost you a lot in life, so by playing chess they are improving their critical thinking which is very important because young people fall into societal traps like drugs and alcohol abuse,” said Mase.

He said that he hoped that the learners would transform into better people through analytical thinking.

Though the club has not competed formally with other schools and clubs, Arosi competed and fared well in a competition last year.

“I was first place in Makhaza and went on to win first position in the Khayelitsha round, but was defeated when I faced competition from Mitchells Plain and therefore failed to represent the province. This year I could not compete as the pressures of matric work prohibited me,” he said.

Teacher Foruin said that he was overjoyed to find there were learners from the school that enjoyed the game of chess.

He said that he had also noticed a positive spike in their results.

“Chess has been great tools in helping the learners develop their critical thinking.”

He said the growing interested in the sport has created an environment where there was a shortage of equipment.

“We only have five boards and some players have to be spectators as they had to wait for the others to finish their games.

We also don’t have watches and since we are a free school the budget is already tight and the watches cost around R500 each.

We would love if local business and those who can to help us,” said Fortuin

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