By Elliot Mathye
President Jacob Zuma has urged school children to play chess referring to it as one education tool that can strengthen a child’s mind.
Zuma was speaking at the gala dinner of Moves for Life Chess Programme which held in Sandton recently.
Zuma said that they as the government want to convince parents and teachers to see chess as a powerful educational game which is able to strengthen and enhance a child’s mind.
Zuma, who is keen in playing chess, said that the game was a serious sport differing to mentality belief by most as the game of the intellectuals and is difficult. He also said that it is a game that young people should be optimistic to play.
“It is an important game in many respects, the main benefit being that it contributes to the development of strategic thinking as well as concentration, analytical skills and problem solving. These are traits that are important for school going children,” said Zuma.
He furthermore explained how the game had stood the test of time, adding to the fact that even new technology-driven games had not killed the game of chess.
He added by saying that no amount of video games can teach a child the same level of patience, strategic thinking, concentration, analytical skills and the attention to detail that they would gain from the timeless intellectual game of chess.
Before ending his speech and encouragement to young people to play chess, he said government and the private sector need to work together to create a culture where chess can be used as both an educational and motivational tool for children.
He concluded the launch by saying that government will play its part in promoting the game in rural areas and schools. “Both the Departments of Basic Education as well as Sports and Recreation are involved and are already working tirelessly to promote the game,” said the President