Home Country Reports Brainiacs: Chess Kenya in Schools

Brainiacs: Chess Kenya in Schools

by Tendai Mubayiwa


“Being brave means to know something that is scary, difficult and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.”

Emile Autumn.

Nothing is more beautiful than teaching a child to be brave and ready to face life’s struggles and challenges positively.  Problem-solving skills are one of the best skills a teacher can impart in a child. The introduction of Chess in Kenyan schools is something that we appreciate to date, considering the fact that chess helps students to solve problems faster and stay organized.

As much as some may find it to be a tricky and challenging game for “brainiacs”, Kenyan students find it to be fun and engaging; by learning the power of the pawn, the King, the queen and other characters involved to win the game, they eventually develop themselves and their minds.WhatsApp Image 2018-02-08 at 10.40.36

The 3rd and 4th of February 2018 marked the dates when students from different schools in Kenya had a chance to showcase their skills in Chess. I had the privilege to attend this spectacular event that left many shocked about their performance.

Led by Mr. Shem Vilembwa and other teachers, the Chess tournament began on Saturday at 10 am. The event was held at St Patrick’s High school Iten, a school which is a few kilometers from Eldoret town.

Some of the schools  that participated at the tournament include:

  • St Joseph’s Boys Kitale
  • St Patricks High School
  • Sing’ore girls high school
  • Friend’s school Kamusinga
  • Tambach High School
  • Chebara Boys High School
  • Moi Girl’s Kapsowar
  • Kapng’etuny Boys
  • Kabarnet High school
  • St Joseph’s Girls Chepterit

Other important participants of this event were the missionary founders of the hosting school (St Patrick’s Iten), Brother Colm and Brother Paul. They played a significant role in reminding the students about how Chess was introduced in that school in the 1970’s. They also encouraged them to do their best and be the winning team.WhatsApp Image 2018-02-08 at 10.43.25

The event was quite emotional especially when the team of boys and girls were paired together causing things to be a bit tough for them. This led to a total disconcert at the end of the game. The winning side marveled at their excellent performance while the losing teams remained shell-shocked at theirs.

St Joseph’s boys Kitale were the main champions of this show due to their splendid performance. However, Singo’re girls were not left behind. They beat the boys and were awarded a beautiful trophy and other awards to match their performance at the tournament.

This match was a challenge to the other losing teams who learned something from their opponents. They left the event with the aim of beating them in the upcoming tournaments.

One of the benefits of incorporating Chess in schools is that it increases the IQ scores of the player, which has been proven by different studies that were dedicated to the understanding of the benefits of chess.

A particular study shows that moving the knights around improves the intelligent quotient. A research that was conducted among Venezuelan students shows that there was improvement in their IQ score after playing Chess for four months.

There are other benefits of learning Chess, and this shows the need of making chess a part of the development activities of learning.

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Jdcrux February 8, 2018 - 6:43 pm

Great article

daisychess February 8, 2018 - 8:53 pm

“this shows the need of making chess a part of the development activities of learning” …. The youth should indeed be supported, mentored and included in such programs to push the development agenda forward for Africa.

Khisho February 9, 2018 - 1:28 am

good read


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