Apr 20, 2012
Chess project aiming to improve maths, science performance of learnersBack
Cape Town|Johannesburg|Khayelitsha|Moscow|Pretoria|Education|Africa|South Africa|Dasha|Garry Kasparov|Jacob Zuma
© Reuse this
When Kasparov and his wife, Dasha, were first brought to South Africa by MFL in November 2011, they were shown schools where MFL had introduced its chess programme. The schools ranged from the topmost in the country to a privately run preschool in a squatter camp. The Kasparovs expressed their fascination with all they saw.
International research over many years, in many countries, has shown, without doubt, that playing chess improves school performance across the board, not only in maths and science. Further, the younger children start, the better. The MFL MiniChess programme starts with five-year-olds. At that age, brain analytical processes are still in the early formation stages and so the logic and analytical processes of chess make a major impact on a child’s ability to think in a problem-solving manner, which is useful for all other school work as the child’s school career progresses.
MFL also has a MasterMoves programme aimed at older children. Kasparov has said that, over the last number of years, he has felt a strong urge to bring chess to as many children as possible across the world. He referred to “my beloved game” and said: “I would like to see a chess set in every home in Africa.”
With that target in mind, the Kasparov Chess Foundation: Africa (KCFA) has just been formed in South Africa. The KCFA is based in Johannesburg and has formed a direct link with MFL. Kasparov has said that he wants to use KCFA to replicate the MFL approach in other African countries. He has said he needs to collaborate with MFL because he is not African and would not wish to prescribe to Africans. Further, he is unable to be in Africa for a sufficient number of days in any year to carry out all the legwork required.
MFL was very pleased to be able to convey an invitation from President Jacob Zuma for Kasparov to meet Zuma at his home. Zuma, himself a keen chess player, complimented Kasparov on his interest in South Africa. In turn, Kasparov thanked the President for his interest in chess and for his declared support for chess to be brought to as many schools as possible. Kasparov and Zuma then played some chess for the large press contingent that had assembled at The Presidency.
While in South Africa, Kasparov played two simultaneous games, each against 25 opponents. One was in the SciBono science museum, in Johannesburg, and one in the civic hall in the township of Khayelitsha, near Cape Town.
After each game, the chess master was mobbed by people looking for autographs. I was amused to see some, who had no chess boards or chess books to sign, just say: “Sign my shirt.” He did. Kasparov seemed particularly charmed to shake the hands of very small children and said: “Welcome to the game of chess.” Many mothers and fathers brought their children to be photographed with Kasparov. Bodyguards had to be deployed to control any crowd surges.
The programme of events was such that, between the large events, there were always news reporters from newspapers, radio and TV and journalists from magazines wanting interviews. My fellow trustees and I felt quite guilty that Kasparov did not have much time to relax. We promised him that next time he comes to South Africa we will take him to see real wild animals and also to experience the sensation of walking in the bush where animals roam. Already people in other African countries have made contact with MFL, enquiring how they can introduce chess in their schools. The intention is that the MFL and KCFA partnership will be the route.
Before flying back to Moscow, the Kasparovs expressed their appreciation for the reception they received in South Africa. Certainly, many South Africans were inspired by having met the enthusiastic couple.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Updated 7 hours ago The waves of strikes that we have seen in South Africa for some time now just have to stop.Nobody is benefiting, not even the workers who strike for higher pay. The reason is that, as soon as one group succeeds in getting a pay increase, the next group strikes. ...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago Celebrating its fiftieth Green Star SA certification in only six years, and with a further 150 projects in the Green Star SA registration pipeline, the impact will increase significantly. “In South Africa, certified new green buildings now cover nearly one-million...
Updated 7 hours ago Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has installed an automated guided vehicle (AGV) line to replace the traditional roller conveyor used on the VW250 engine line. An AGV is a mobile robot that follows markers or cabling in the floor, or uses vision or lasers to...
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa has an opportunity to achieve a similar result to that of China, which has lifted hundreds of millions of its citizens from poverty to prosperity, but the challenge is to develop world-class customer-focused engineers.
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa had more than enough money and resources to deliver on the constitutional promise of quality of life for all, but those involved in corruption have cost the country immensely.
Updated 7 hours ago BMW South Africa has postponed the introduction of the i3 city car and i8 supercar to March 2015, says spokesperson Edward Makwana. The i3 is an electric vehicle, and the i8 a plug-in hybrid. Both models were scheduled for local introduction this year.