Chess visualizes patterns of the mind – Expert

Graham Jurgensen, the Executive Director of the Kasparov Chess Foundation-Africa (KCF-A), has emphasized that the game of chess is extremely effective to sharpen thinking patterns in minds of many.

On a working trip to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, Jurgensen stressed chess is an educational tool as it involves all aspects of critical thinking.



Jurgensen was in Kigali, Rwanda to officiate at the 2016 Rwanda Open tournament and visit schools where a pilot phase of a MiniChess programme funded by his organization is on track.


He said:

“Chess also raises self-esteem, teaches determination, self-motivation and sportsmanship and can be enjoyed by children from all social backgrounds, ages, races and genders.

It demands children to take responsibility for their actions, and it improves problem-solving skills.

By playing chess, children develop or sharpen the ability to visualize patterns in their minds.

They create plans and focus their thoughts and energies.”

Worldwide, more than 700 million people are estimated to play chess.

Jurgensen equated Chess to the game of football in popularity.

“The World Chess Federation is actually the second largest sporting federation in the world in terms of the number of member federations. It is second only to FIFA!”

The Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa is a public benefit organization which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It focuses on promoting chess as a tool for education and social development across Africa.

This was the third regional chapter to be opened and we also have offices in New York, Brussels, Singapore and Mexico City.

The founder and chairman is the 13th World Chess Champion, Grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

About Mini-Chess:

MiniChess is very different from the game of Chess as a sport as it is actually an educational program.

It was developed in South Africa and has been very successful when used to teach entry phase learners which we define as children between the ages of five and nine years old.

Its’ big differentiator is that it does far more than simply teach children how to play chess.

Instead, its is focused on the development of basic concepts that form the foundation for development of math, critical thinking and life-skills in future years.

MiniChess is currently running at more than 250 African schools and is reaching in excess of 55,000 learners per week.

There running active programs in South Africa, Rwanda, Madagascar, Lesotho and Uganda. Kenya also recently launched operations and it is expected to add at least another five countries this year (2016).

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Life is a game, lets play more

Cape Town – By their nature, surprises come unbidden: a letter in the post, a mystery deposit of R15-billion in your bank account (yeah, right), the news that your aunt was once an uncle, a phone call from an old friend whose name you can’t remember.

However, some surprises are smaller and less dramatic, but nonetheless pack the same punch.



On Saturday, I went to buy some pens. It still surprises me that stationery shops selling actual pens and actual paper still exist. And I’m still surprised at how happy a good, extra-fine pen makes me feel. And on Saturday, a lot of happiness was needed.

Three miners were still trapped underground, our president had delivered a speech that was at best insincere and at worst schizophrenic, a friend’s mother was dying, a Richardhead in an Audi had just flipped me the finger, and universities had become tangled up in purple and black and the fine line between outrage and hatred. A fine-liner might not even cut it.

I parked the car and walked towards Cavendish, thinking bad thoughts. Rounding the corner, I looked up and saw that the cement space outside a series of vacant shops was filled with tables and chairs and ’70s-looking clocks and chessboards and a strange and wonderful silence. At each table, two people sat opposite each other, frowning at the chess pieces before making their move.

Kids shook hands after a game, a tiny boy wearing tracksuit pants wriggled in his chair when his grey-haired opponent swiftly delivered one, two, three movements, a woman wearing a cap backwards whistled under her breath and smacked the timer.

I don’t know much about chess, but it suddenly seemed magical, like an elite sect whose only entrance requirement is the ability to be comfortably silent while waving the occasional finger in the air. I stood and watched, taking in the space, normally barren but now lively, and the diversity of the players – all colours and ages with varying degrees of sartorial style. There might even have been a purple alien among them.

Organisers Reuben Salimu, of the African Chess Lounge in Rondebosch, and Abdul Kerbelker, of the Claremont Improvement District Company, explained the thinking behind the event: to bring chess to the people and bring people together by using a public space for exchange and interaction.

As I stood watching, I realised that while most of the players were deep in thought, silent as bulldogs, they were communing through a mutual language.

Studies have shown that public spaces are vital for fostering and encouraging social biodiversity. However, the creep of privatisation and development often marginalises this, turning public spaces into segregated areas arranged around class and race.

While Cape Town has a myriad public spaces – from squares and promenades to beaches, parks and trails – it also has an acutely divergent society. Many residents can’t afford to travel to the beach or the city and, because of our history, some feel the city’s public spaces are for other people and not them.

The challenge, therefore, is to preserve and expand the city’s public spaces and create environments that are participatory and socially accessible.

The chess event was a perfect example. The game doesn’t discriminate across race, age or gender, nor does it require expensive overheads or extravagant participation. All the players had to do was put their name down and show up.

Sport is an excellent tool for social cohesion, but many codes are arranged around age and gender.

The performing arts, too, are effective binders and communicators, but rely on a schism between performers and audience. Games, on the other hand, are participatory and accessible, and offer opportunities for intimate interaction, communal problem-solving – and a lot of laughter.

Okay, so Naked Twister on the promenade might be pushing it, but how about a massive outdoor Jenga game that requires a lot of bodies to move the pieces around? Or an outdoor bowling alley? Or banks of bicycles in a public space that, when pedalled, produce energy to add to the grid? Or regular Guinness World Record attempts in public spaces involving hundreds of people? Or tiddlywinks competitions? Scone-baking smackdowns? Hopscotch hoedowns?

Children learn tolerance, co-operation, respect and camaraderie through playing games. It’s obvious from recent events that we adults could do with a refresher – and, who knows, we could surprise ourselves.

We might discover we’re pretty good at hurling ourselves down a bowling lane. Or we may unearth a hidden talent for squeezing into tiny spaces. And we might find that beneath our race and gender and age and language, we’re not that different from one another. Some just might have nicer tracksuits.

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Khayalemfundo under 15 girls crowned national chess champions

KHAYALEMFUNDO High School under 15 girls of Mandeni made the iLembe District and KwaZulu-Natal proud after being crowned top schools chess champions in Pretoria recently.

On Friday, officials of the iLembe Department of Education, KwaZulu-Natal Chess Association and the Department of Sport and Recreation paid an unannounced visit to the school to congratulate the pupils on their outstanding achievement.


Proud Khayalemfundo principal Ms. Nzuza, WM Gwamanda (iLembe chess co-ordinator), Sandile Xulu (president of KZN Chess Association),  Sphamandla Nkosi (iLembe chess head coach), IK Buthelezi (CES of Sport in the iLembe District) congratulate the Khayalemfundo Under-15 girls chess champions on their outstanding feat. Photo: supplied

President of KwaZulu-Natal Chess Association, Sandile Xulu heaped praise upon the school chess coach and the girls on their outstanding feat.

Chairman of iLembe chess, Welcome Gwamanda said: “These girls exceeded our expectations by winning gold at their first national top schools chess tournament”.

He heaped praise upon coach Siyabonga Gumede, who voluntarily rendered his services to coach these learners in chess.

IK Buthelezi (CES of Sport in the iLembe District) said: “Khayalemfundo girls have done our district proud and stand out as shining role models to the thousands of pupils at our schools. They didn’t have enough chess sets preparing for the national tournament, but their commitment coupled with the passion of their coach was undoubtedly their recipe for success”.

KwaZulu-Natal Chess Association presented each of the seven girls with a chess set and a chess clock. Schools in the iLembe District that require assistance with chess are requested to contact W. Gwamanda on 072 484 7835.

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Mosenya wins 2016 chess season opener

Veteran chess player, Ndawana Mosenya has won the year opening Airfficiency chess tournament which ended on Sunday at Legae Academy in Gaborone. Mosenya toppled last year’s winner, FIDE Master Thato Olebile, who could only finish 16th.

Mosenya accumulated 6.5/7 points to walk away with the championship. He finished joint top with Zambian, Kela Kaulela but clinched the title on a tiebreaker.

Another local, Albert Sanda of Botswana finished third with six points. Mosenya pocketed P3,000.

Sonia Modi of South Africa defended her title in the women’s section, scoring 7/7 points. Modi returned home P2,000 richer. Second position went to Termaine Chizikane of Zimbabwe with 5.5 points while third position went to Woman International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis who scored 5.5 points. WIM Boikhutso Modongo came forth with five points. In the youth section, Udiyanoor Sreejit (boys) and Besa Masaiti (girls) were crowned as champions.

The tournament opened the Botswana chess calendar on a high note with a representation of five federations being Botswana, Zambia,

South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The tournament saw 209 chess players compete.

Speaking to Mmegi Sport yesterday, Mosenya said he had spent the whole of last year preparing for 2016. He said winning the year opener was a good way of starting the year.

“I attended some tournaments in South Africa. It is now time for me to reap what I sow. I expect results to come now.

The competition was tough because of players from outside the country. The absence of International Master Providence Oatlhotse meant there was no competition from local players,” said Mosenya.

The tournament received cash assistance of P20,000 from Airfficiency (PTY) LTD, an increase from P15,000 from last year. The company has been supporting the tournament for the past six years.


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Ilembe impresses at national chess tournament

e68a01e5e9dd4c9d8628d810a5e65ac3.jpgILEMBE Chess Association impressed at the South African Junior Chess Championship held at the University of Cape Town from 3 to 7 January.

A squad of 53 pupils represented iLembe in the under 10, under 12, under 14, under 16 and under 18 tournament in Cape Town.

Ilembe Chess hosted a series of events leading up to the selection of the squads to participate in the national tournament. In May, last year Ilembe Chess hosted its first tournament with more than 120 learners participating. Learners from Nonhlevu, New Guelderland and Stanger South represented KwaDukuza at the provincial chess tournament.

In June 2015 Ilembe Chess hosted the Jacob Zuma Foundation chess tournament at Umhlali Prep. Melville Primary, Nonhlevu and Khayalemfundo High School of Mandeni were adjudged winners in the three different categories and waltzed away with trophies sponsored by the JGZ Foundation.

In July 2015 Ilembe hosted an under 13 chess tournament and hosts Umhlali Prep proved too strong for their rivals winning both categories. Ilembe Cricket went on to host a youth tournament (in the U10, U12, U14, U16 and U18) at the end of July last year to select a squad to participate in the 2016 National Junior Chess Championship in Cape Town.

After an intensive five-months coaching and mentoring programme the Ilembe Chess squad set off to Cape Town to strut their stuff.

More than 20 teams representing the Johannesburg Metropolitan, Tswane, Boland, Western Province, Free State, Limpopo, Nelson Mandela Bay, Bojanala, Ethekwini, Lejweleputswa of North West, South Western Districts, Mpumalanga, Enhlanzeni, Northern Cape, Uthunglu, Sedibeng. Gert Sibande, Nkangala of Mpumalanga and Ilembe participated in 5-day tournament in the five different age-categories.

The Ilembe Chesss under 16 outfit stunned their more illustrious rivals in the mother-city emerging runners-up in the D-Division ranks and have gained automatic promotion into the C-Division ranks in 2017.

Sabelo Shandu, Richard Patterson, Kuhlekonke Mpanza and Banele Mbokazi impressed in the under 16 ranks winning board prizes.

The Ilembe Chess under 12 outfit finished a creditable third in the C-Division ranks and will be plying their trade in the B-Division ranks next year. Twelve-year-old Kylan Pillay and Njabulo Khumalo were outstanding and were awarded individual bord prizes for their outstanding performance.

The Ilembe Chess under 14 and under-18 squads finished fifth respectively in the C-Division ranks with the under 10 squad emerging seventh after making their debut in the national chess tournament.

Chairman of Ilembe Chess, Welcome Mazi Gwamanda congratulated the team on their outstanding performance and was full of praise for the individual players who waltzed away with board prizes. Gwamanda expressed his sincere thanks to the Ilembe District Municipality and the Department of Sport and Recreation (Ilembe) for their assistance in ensuring a successful tournament.

Schools that require assistance with chess are requested to contact Gwamanda on 072 484 7835.

A squad of 53 pupils represented iLembe in the under 10, under 12, under 14, under 16 and under 18 tournament in Cape Town.

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Conclusion of TSMFL Secunda Project

With the conclusion of the TSMFL programme in Secunda, Mpumalanga, it is with sadness that we bid our farewell to our fantastic TSMFL Team in Secunda.

The programme in Secunda was one of our flagship projects, under the management of Marietjie Jansen van Vuuren (TSMFL Coordinator) and her team (Carina Bornman, Rebecca Mphosi and Jeanett Mazibuko).

Secundaspan Finaal

These ladies were remarkable in their constant support and assistance in the programme roll-out in the schools, encouraging and empowering each foundation phase educator with regular training sessions, team-building events and a successful Teacher Chess Tournament in 2014.

TSMFL also thanks Sasol for its sponsorship and support over the last 2 years. We are grateful for teaming up in the effort to impact both the foundation phase learners and educators of the primary schools in Secunda and Embalenhle, as well as the surrounding communities.

Many stories from the schools involved, testify to the success of the chess programme’s impact so far, including examples of learners gaining self-confidence, overall discipline in class and a marked improvement in school attendance and educational progress. Even though TSMFL’s active involvement in these primary schools will be ceased, the foundation phase educators will continue to integrate the chess programme with their in-class CAPS curriculum to impact their learners one day at a time.

We look forward to the day when TSMFL may once again partner with Sasol to make a change in South Africa!


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Sifiso Ncube impresses in Zambia chess tourney

Sifiso Ncube was the star of the day for the Zimbabwean junior chess team which took part in the African Youth Chess Championships of 2015, hosted at the Golden Peacock Hotel from the 5th-13th of December in Lusaka, Zambia.

After performing well at the African schools chess individuals in Botswana, Sifiso continued with his fine performance which saw him winnning some very crucial games agaibnst the tournaments favorites in the mould of Elias Musonda and Fide Master Quaret Abdelouhab of Algeria who had a rating of 1870, FM Crismann Alessandro Claudio 1926 of South Africa.
He met his countryman Solomon Chimuzura in round three and he got the better of his opponent who missed a tactical move which would have equalised the game. This was after a set back in round two when he failed to contain the attack from the only International Master Wagdy Andro of Egypt who had a rating of 2241. He went on to beat Shadrick Zulu in round 4 before faltering to FM Zayan Mahommad with a rating 2042 of Egypt in round 7 when he led the field of play.
After the defeat he then faced Elias Musonda of Zambia with a rating of 1915 and he won a very interesting game before drawing his final round against Chanda Simon of Zambia. IM Wagdy Andro suffered defeat from his compatriot FM Zayan Mahommad in a pulsating game before the later lost to Musonda. The competition was very stiff and interesting. Sekelani Tembo beat FM Zayan Mahommad in the final round to finish with 6/9 points getting a fourth position slot in the under 18 open boys. Solomon Chimuzura finished with 3,5 points, he got the better of his compatriot Munyaradzi Thom in their own encounter.
Thom finished with 4/9 points so was Mark Jarachrara another Zimbabwean in the under 18 boys category.In the under 8 category MADAKA Tadiwanashe finished with 5/9 points he however upset the winner of the division when he won convincingly. Tinaye Madamombe, Mawire Tawananyasha and Chitakatira Jaeden all finished with 4/9 points.In the under 8/10 girls category there was a fierce battle between Refiloe Mudodo and Rumbidzai Mawire which resulted in a shocker as the two are always at each other’s throat when they play.
Rumbidzai Mawire beat Refiloe Mudodo’s French defence. Refiloe never got some breathing space and she eventually lost after the pressure was just immense for her to recover as hse was to lose all the rooks in the end. Mawire went on to draw  the final round resulting in a 6,5 points for her. Refiloe was beaten in her final round maybe it was the pressure from the round before which strained her. Eventually Rumbidzai came fourth on butcholtz but she was tied on third position but lost it on a head -to head basis as she lost and missed a medal on these basis.
Chiwara Makanaka was 5th with 5,5 points while Refiloe who was the favorite finished with 5 points out of 9 games.She failed to maintain the momentum in the final stages of the game. In the under 10 boys Maxen Takunda finished with 5,5 points and eventually coming out a credible fifth position in  his age group. Chigova Tinashe finished with 5/9 points which was an improvement from his performance in Botswana sometime in April. Zimbili Panashe came a credible 4th position with 6/9 points, failing to get a medal by the head-to- head rules.
In the under 12 boys category Panashe Edwards finished with 5/9 points while Calixto Hernandez, Rufaro Chikaka, Philimon Tinasheand Oliver Mazorodze finished with 4,5 /9. This was an average performance by the boys in this category. Calixto Hernandez played well considering that it was his first time to play in an international tourney. In the under 14 girls category WCM Kundai Murinda performed well finishing with 6 points out of 9 games. She was tied on third position coming out 4th after considering head-to -head clashes. Her performance was very good considering the level of competition in her age group.
Kudzai Mhandu missed a clear silver medal after falling in the last round. He only needed a draw which he failed to get.After losing the game, he also lost the medal when he came fourth on head-to head basis. He played a wonderful tourney downing some Algerians and other strong players in his way. His performance will surely get him a better rating. The young boy was very steady on the board and he deserves to be a champion who is very composed.
In the under 16 boys category Bonde Cornelius gave a good account of himself when he finished with 5,5/9 and was the best Zimbabwean in his age group finishing 9/23 participants. Takunda Mudzingwa, Kudakwashe Zimbowa, and Tapiwanashe Munhupedzi finished with 4,5 points out of 9 games they played. In the under 16 girls category Moyo Pumuzile and Banda Shantel finished with 4,5/9. This was a fair performance from the girls. In the under 18 girls category Mukai Mahachi of Convent girls High Harare finished with 4,5 points finishing 6th in her age group out of 16 players. Linda Shaba had 4/9 in the same age group. Zimbabwe had the highest number of participants (54 players) followed by Zambia the hosts. The tourney had 226 players and 12 federations took part the highest number of federations so far since the inception of the African Youth Chess Championships. Algeria,Botswana, Burundi,Egypt,Ghana,Kenya,Malawi,Namibia,Nigeria,South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Nigeria, Burundi and Ghana taking part for the first time.
The Chief Arbiter for the tournament was IA Gunther Van Berg of South Africa. He was assisted by IA Banda,IA Mpambela and yours truly was also part of the team earning an IA norm so was FA elect and NI Admire Mawire. The tournament was a success though it had a slow start in the beginning it was a tournament to remember as well as a breaking ground for some players and coaches from the 12 federations which took part. Algeria eclipsed Egypt from the top spot getting 8 gold medals followed by South Africa and Egypt came third in a start-studded field.
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TSMFL visits Uitkyk Meat and Supermarket

TSMFL visited Mr. Fred Cornelius and Mrs. Anita Labuschagne of Uitkyk Meat and Supermarket, to show our appreciation for their sponsorship and support of the past years to the following Mamelodi, Pretoria schools:

  • Fred Magardie Primary
  • Zaminthuthuko Pimary
  • Sikhanyisele Primary
  • Dr. Monare Primary
Uitkyk Vleismark

From L-R: Mr. Fred Cornelius, Ms. Christelle Kok, Mrs. Lindiwe Tshabalala, Mrs. Anita Labuschagne, Mrs. Gloria Mncube, Mr. Malusi Lekalakala and Mr. Lackson Malatji.

The meeting was the perfect opportunity for TSMFL to report on the progress of the programme in Mamelodi. While Mrs. Lindiwe Tshabalala (TSMFL Tutor) gave feedback on the MiniChess programme in the abovementioned schools, Mr. Lackson Malatji (MasterMoves Chess Coach) reported on the establishment and growth of the MasterMoves chess clubs in Mamelodi.

Mrs. Gloria Mncube, representing Sikhanyisele Primary as Foundation Phase educator, also regaled the attendees with several success stories regarding the impact of the chess programme on both individual learners and Foundation Phase classes as a whole.

Mr. Cornelius and Mrs. Labuschagne were gifted MiniChess collages from each of the 4 Primary schools, lovingly made by the Foundation Phase learners as a token of their appreciation.

TSMFL wants to thank Uitkyk Meat and Supermarket for their warm welcome, ongoing sponsorship and support as well as our shared vision and plans for making 2016 another memorable year!

  • Christelle Kok


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Mwale urges African chess bodies to network

downloadSPORTS minister Vincent Mwale has called on national chess organisations to network so that Africa can become a major force on the global stage.

Speaking at Golden Bridge Hotel in Lusaka when he opened the 2015 African Youth Chess Championship on Saturday, Mwale encouraged chess federations on the continent to network and provide an engaging climate.

Addressing nearly 250 chess players who are in the country to take part in a five-day tournament, Mwale said the event was a building block for future champions on the continent as well as African ambassadors. “We encourage a networking process with other federations gathered here so that Africa can become a major source on global chess stage. Amongst the close to 250 participants gathered here, we have the building blocks of future champions of our continent and African ambassadors in the chess world. We are hopeful that this championship will provide the ultimate competitive test for young players in Africa,” Mwale said. He earlier officiated at a ceremony where National Sports Council of Zambia chairperson Mwamba Kalenga was conferred with a honorary professorship degree in sports administration by South Africa-based Emmanuel Christian University.

At the event held at Olympic Youth Development Centre, Mwale said Kalenga deserved the award as he was the longest serving and passionate sports administrator. “It’s not easy to run sports without support but Mr Kalenga showed that it is possible with commitment and dedication, including the strong values of good governance, which he has always stood for,” said Mwale.

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Cape chess club celebrates 35 years

The Mitchell’s Plain Chess Club has been making all the right moves for 35 years.

What started in 1980 with a small group of people has grown into a club with over 160 members.


The club also produced South Africa’s first chess grandmaster, Kenny Solomons.

To celebrate their milestone, they will be hosting a tournament at the Tafelsig Indoor Sports Centre this weekend, and everyone is welcome.

From beginners, intermediate to advanced players, there’s a seat for anyone at their blokkies board.

The club’s spokesman, Greg Baker, says while people often think you must be very clever to play chess, that’s really not true.

He recalls going to Lantana Primary in Lentegeur in 1989 and introducing the game at the school.

“This little girl came up to me and told me she wants to play but her mom told her sy is stadig gebore,” says Greg.

He taught her how to play chess, and she went on to dominate in a Western Cape tournament where she won three games.

Trustee of the club, Leon Gainsford, says chess can change childrens’ lives.

Leon says: “It helps with analytical thinking and if you teach them a game where every move has a consequence, they can see that in their lives as well.”

One such child was Kenny.

Greg says: “Kenny Solomons grew up in front of me playing chess.

“When he went on trips there was fundraising events that used to take place so he could attend tournaments overseas.”

To pit your wits against the Mitchells Plain Chess Club, go to the Tafelsig Indoor Sports Centre at 7pm on Friday and register.

Doors open at 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

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