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Friday, March 11, 2011

Chess revolution sweeping Africa - A teacher's take

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

It is heartening to read more and more chess news coming out into the international media from Africa. We found this nice article at Leadership Online.

Dr Kelvin Kemm has a doctorate in Nuclear Physics and is one of the five members of the Supreme Chess Trust. The others are Mickey Scheepers, an engineer; Marisa van der Merwe an accomplished chess teacher; IM Watu Kobese (one point away from becoming an international chess grandmaster) and Afrika Msimang a sociologist. Together, they have developed a programme called Moves for Life, and it uses chess to prepare children for life in general and school in particular.

The mindset to change the Matric pass rate from 60% to 90% is at our fingertips. says Dr Kelvin Kemm. The Trust is using chess to promote thinking ability and confidence in children. And it is winning.

The first thing it is doing, is breaking down the myth that chess is a game for boffins. In its pure form, it is a very simple game and anyone can learn how to play it. Like everything in life, the complications and the difficulties come into play when the competition between people becomes a factor.

Dr Kemm's viewpoint is:
The same is very true at school level. There are teachers who can tell you within the first two weeks of the school year whether a child will “make it” or not. Sadly, these children are not placed back into their previous class to learn the skills that are required for “making it”, but rather – due to the pressures of the system – are promoted all the way to Grade 12, at which point they become a part of the 40% who fail the final exam or, worse, one of the significant number of pupils who take their own lives rather than face the ordeal. The problem does not lie with the pupils, nor really with the teachers, but with a system that does not teach either group to think.

Chess is the solution. Indeed.
We wish Dr Kemm and his team the very best of luck.
You can read the full article here.

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