Samuel George, Founder of SAPO’s Chess Academy, Iwaya, Yaba, on Monday said that improving the lives of children through chess tournaments is a calling for him.
George said he discovered that he was passionate about developing and impacting positively on young minds through chess competitions.
According to him, SAPO Chess Academy was established in 2015 to teach children in the community how to play chess for free and organise tournaments to reward their efforts.
“The lifestyle of some of the children in my community is not appealing; besides, my community is known as one of the notorious communities in Lagos State.
“This is why I decided to establish the academy to use it as an avenue to improve the lives of children and change the perception of people toward the community.
“We always organise tournaments every year to give children a platform where they can improve their skills and prepare for international tournaments,” he said.
George said that the upcoming 3rd SAPO Chess Tournament, scheduled for Aug. 18, was yet another testimony of the positive impact of the competition which unites the people in the community.
He said that two members of his academy, Ikechukwu Ochu and Temitope Adaramaja, won the first and second prizes respectively at the Grand Slam Chess Tournament sponsored by Price Waterhouse Coopers in April.
“In the beginning, it was difficult getting the consent of parents to allow their children participate in the training sessions organised by the academy.
“However, through increased awareness about the benefits of playing chess and the testimonies of winners emerging at various competitions, parents are now encouraging their children to play chess in the community.
“Besides, chess is a good board game that facilitates cognitive development through intensive strategic thinking which improves a person’s ability to reason and retain knowledge,” he said.
George said that chess was based on mathematical calculation and mathematics is the tool of science and the language of organised thoughts that is highly beneficial to children and adults.
“Attention to details, memory analysis and logic are fundamentally building blocks for personal growth which can be improved upon through regularly playing chess.
“Chess also helps children build analytic skills and develop social dexterity which are important in life, encouraging self-assessment and promoting healthy competition.
“This invariably makes chess players better at school and helps them to excel at tasks that require great concentration,” he said.
George urged parents to allow their children participate in chess competitions because competitions teach children and prepare them on how to face challenges in life.