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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Special gift for South African children: President Zuma supports chess

Chess news and chess trivia blog (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2010

The President with members of Chessa and FIDE. Back row: Lynne van Rensburg (CHESSA Secretary), Lyndon Bouah (CHESSA Vice President), Lewis Ncube (FIDE Vice President); front row: Brian Aitchison (CHESSA Executive Director), Emelia Ellappen (CHESSA President), President Jacob Zuma (President of South Africa), Ali Nihat Yazici (FIDE Vice President, FIDE Chess in Schools Commission President and Turkish Chess Federation President).

Hi Everyone,

It's always great to know when people in public life promote chess. It feels awesome to know when the President of a country steps up to promote chess among children. This is surely one of President Jacob Zuma's most notable contributions to South Africa.

President Zuma announced his support and recognition of chess as a problem-solving training activity on October 26. He highlighted the cognitive development and advancement in ability as some of the gains that young learners will derive from chess and gave a most fantastic speech on chess.

He said, "It is an important game in many aspects, the main benefit being that it contributes to the development of strategic thinking as well as concentration, analytical skills and problem solving.”

He was speaking at a function for the Moves for Life programme, which he commended for being uniquely South African.

The Moves for Life chess programme was officially launched at a gala dinner with captains of industry, politicians, educationists and other eminent citizens pledging to bring chess to the children of South Africa.

President Zuma said:

In summary, the benefits that accumulate from the teaching and promotion of chess in schools include the following:

  • The game teaches patience. You have to give the opponent time and space to think and make his or her own move.
  • It teaches that a decision must be an outcome of a serious thought process.
  • Chess teaches discipline, for example as chess players would know, “touch is a move”. When you touch, you must move, you have to be disciplined.
  • Chess teaches fairness. You alert the opponent before you strike, and keep them informed of your moves and intentions.

You can read the full story at and at the Republic of South Africa Presidential Website.

This growing support for chess around the world is great. Remember our previous post about the President of Azerbaijan also supporting chess? How cool!

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