Spanish Chess Instructors Introduce Gambian Students to the game of Kings & Queens

The Spanish Chess Instructors training students on the game Photo credit: @Javier

By Omar Faye

Efforts to promote chess in the Gambia are gaining momentum as the chess federation teams up with the ‘Kanuforo’ foundation and Spanish chess instructors to introduce school children to the game.

It’s a nationwide endeavor to engage more young chess enthusiasts and popularize the game amongst school children. The latest campaign, which brings Spanish Chess instructors to the Gambia, aims to train students and promote the sport in schools.

Spanish chess instructors toured schools nationwide, equipping schoolchildren with skills and tools to develop critical thinking and experience the dynamics of the important game.

“Our idea in the Gambia is to teach trainers and teachers in schools and the Chess Federation so that they can create grassroots chess development in the whole country, to spread the game, and it benefits as the educational purpose and as a mind sport because it’s very well known around the world that chess has a lot of benefits to improve kids abilities and help in their development,” said Aaron Alonso Garcia, one of the chess instructors.

As the team advanced the tour across various schools in rural Gambia, students were engaged in learning the basics of chess, the rules of the game, mind-opening combinations, and tactical ideas for playing the game.

“The Gambia is a small country. So you must have many different people playing the game because if you have thousands or millions playing, you would have one of them who would become a grand master player. So the first step is to have kids in the Gambia involved in the project and start learning chess, and then we will continue with the training when we get back to Spain, online and by that, they would have more teachers training them, more people from players from Spain would come in the near future” Alonso emphasized

The Gambian FIDE-rated chess players have made notable strides in recent years, representing the country in various international chess arenas, despite low rankings by the federation, which is working to increase its mark in International chess competitions – something players are focused on changing.

“The impact would be great because we are losing a lot as we speak. We have different international tournaments, which benefit the kids because some would be paid in dollars. There are many opportunities for people aged 5 and 16 to start writing their books on chess because you cannot be a grandmaster without writing a book. So imagine being a writer at 7 or 12; that will increase one’s intellectual property rights for the kids and many other things. So this training that we are doing would also help us to have candidates because we need cadet, amateur, and professional candidates so that we can send them out to the world and take our flag higher and make their families proud,” said Lamin Jammeh, Chess Development Instructor

The visiting team of chess instructors and their Gambia counterparts also met partner institutions and sporting bodies, including the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, the National Sports Council, and other chess affiliates, to enhance standards and mobilize more support for scouting young chess players.

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