Apr 20, 2012
Chess project aiming to improve maths, science performance of learnersBack
Cape Town|Johannesburg|Khayelitsha|Moscow|Pretoria|Africa|Education|PROJECT|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 (150 word limit)
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Updated 6 minutes ago China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) has signed two deals worth a combined $5.5-billion for construction projects in Africa, Xinhua reported late on Monday, as the country's railway firms increasingly flex their muscle overseas. CRCC's China Civil Engineering...
Updated 12 minutes ago A forensic audit of Nigeria's state oil firm released on Monday said the company, accused of corruption, actually overpaid the state by almost $750-million, but should still pay it an additional $1.5-billion. Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan released the...
Updated 22 minutes ago A collision between two trains at Denver station south of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning left an unknown number of people injured, Metrorail confirmed to News24. The Gauteng spokesperson for the train service, Lillian Mofokeng, said a Metroplus and business train...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in 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...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Forest products group Sappi has confirmed the selection of its 25 MW biomass-to-power project, to be erected at its Ngodwana mill, in Mpumalanga, as a preferred bidder under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement...
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
Another cement manufacturer is set to enter the Ugandan market, raising hopes that prices will come down and spur growth in the construction industry. National Cement, a Kenyan manufacturer, has unveiled plans to invest $195-million in a new manufacturing plant in...
With growth rates exceeding that in the developed world – at an average of between 4% and 5% between 2002 and 2014 – African countries provide investors with ample reason to tap into booming consumer demand says Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad...
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) decreased by 3.7 index points month-on-month to 89.1 in March.