If chess is the name of the game, let kids play

2017-06-29 06:01
The Crossroads Library Chess Clubs has blossomed since its inception and they need your support.

The Crossroads Library Chess Clubs has blossomed since its inception and they need your support.

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After a shaky start with no more than ten members, the Crossroads Library Chess Club is growing in leaps and bounds.

The club was established in 2015 and has since won accolades in three chess tournaments.

The members are between eight and 18 years old, including a smattering of adults who have since joined the club.

When City Vision caught up with head coach Thando Hlakula, he spoke of the difficulties he faced when he first took the job of running the team.

“There was an advert by the library for a person to run the club. This rekindled my love for the game as I had grown up playing it, but hadn’t competed for a while as an adult,” he said.

Hlakula said that he began with a few children that would come over as they pleased. “At first they would get bored because before they could play they needed to learn the theory.

You know kids love to play so they would go play elsewhere but gradually the numbers grew,” he said.

They started off with two boards, he says, which was a challenge because other members had to wait their turn.

“Even now we don’t have enough boards and sets because some still have to wait. We are also struggling with clocks because those we use can cost up to R1000 and we don’t have a sponsor yet,” he said.

Despite these challenges, the youngsters have improved and started showing up at competitive games.

“Having started from not knowing anything about chess to where they are now, I would say it is a great achievement. You know, there are some that I can’t even beat anymore,” he quipped.

“We have won medals at the Paarl Chess Tournament; we have won a rating prize at the Elsies River Rapid Chess Tournament and the Steintz Chess Club 40th Anniversary Tournament,” he proudly recalled.

Hlakula said that he learnt the game in 1996 by chance and he became an avid player during his school days.

“We use to play it every day and we even gambled on the games we played. We would even be hired to play for other schools. But you grow up and you have to focus on work so I stopped playing competitively as I grew older,” he said.

He said that they were now preparing to enter the Western Cape Chess League but needed to raise funds to enter.

“Last year we entered late because we struggled to get funding but we are hooping that this year its going to be different.

We do hope that people who have the means to support us can because it can get expensive as you need money to enter competition, transport and food for the youngsters,” he said.

He also urged more parents to come and give support to children when they are playing in tournaments.

You can contact the club by emailing xroadschess@gmail.com

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