The City of Cape Town’s library chess tournament, Chess@Libraries 2019, culminated in a round of nail-biting games at the Parow Library where the finals took place last Friday 27 September. After months of elimination rounds, 74 participants from 19 libraries squared off on the black and white boards. The winner was Robert Kuziyamisa and the runner up was Shaun Smith, both patrons from Lentegeur Library. “Chess is becoming more popular and this tournament has drawn players of all ages from around the city. A number of our libraries already have established chess clubs, and with more reporting a marked interest in the game, we are fully in support of growing chess in our libraries,” said the Mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, who handed over several chess sets to the library and information services department, with more sets earmarked for other libraries.Some of the chess clubs meet regularly, others meet on an ad hoc basis, while some hope to gain enough interest and chess set donations to get them going.“The benefits of board games, and especially chess, cannot be overstated. Anyone can learn and the benefits are not just scientific. While it exercises both sides of the brain and improves problem-solving skills, playing chess is a fun way of learning how to follow the rules and can help build self-confidence,” said Badroodien.The Chess@Libraries 2019 initiative was pioneered and spearheaded by librarian, Daniel Arendse of Leonsdale Library, who has been involved in the game since 1995 when he started playing while still at primary school.He started chess clubs at several libraries and in 2017 initiated Chess@Libraries as he believes chess is beneficial, regardless of age.Badroodien commended the initiative.“Chess allows our libraries to be true facilities of learning, growing, socialising and relaxation. “While I congratulate the winners on games well played, I want to encourage our patrons, young and old, to get on board,” Badroodien added.For more information, contact your local library.