Last year, Disney movie, Queen of Katwe cast a spotlight on the story of Uganda’s Phiona Mutesi – a young girl of ten who rose from a life in the Katwe slum of Uganda to become a world renowned Chess prodigy.
Phiona’s story which was amplified by Disney’s work on Queen of Katwe showed the real possibilities that the game of chess can present to young African children and a former world chess champion wants to mine that.
Former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, is gearing to bring the game of chess to one million school children in Africa – as a tool to sharpen their learning skills and build their confidence.
The chess champion set up Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa for this purpose. A Francophone branch of the foundation which services Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Madagascar was launched on March 23.
Garry Kasparov’s foundation will provide schools in African countries with chess learning kits, and train teachers who will help in achieving the one million children mark by the year 2022.
Kasparov is apparently trying to change the misconception that only certain countries can produce chess champions. The champion who continues to hold the record of being the youngest world chess champion at the age of 22, spoke about the importance of chess in schools;
“We have plenty of data collected from around the world that proves beyond any doubt that classes with chess – especially early 6 to 9 – dramatically improve the skills of the kids to learn how to process information and make decisions.”
The Inquirer reports that Kasparov Chess Foundation has already introduced chess in various schools around the world and Garry Kasparov has expressed hope that the same passion will be used to achieve the Africa project. Who knows, an African child may be the one to finally beat his record.