The truth about the school participation in Chess Federations

There have been differing opinions about participation and representation of schools in sporting associations. Most arguments point to the fact chess in not the main thing in schools and allowing full participation of schools in chess administration could dilute the game.

A claim is that because of teachers’ preoccupation with the core business of imparting academic knowledge to their students, they will not have enough time to drive strategic direction of the federations.

Secondary to that, the claim is, learners do not spend as much time in schools and may leave without really adding any value to the growth of the sport. The counter argument to that is that schools are perfect for chess as they are the most fertile grounds for learning. Participation of schools in chess benefit chess in the following ways:

 

Structured Learning

 Because of the fertility in the learning environment in schools and the defined structures, schools’ participation in federations ensure that the same principles are transferred to the life of the association.

Clear rules of engagement and governance in schools which are imparted to students in their early years creates a much need discipline needed to drive the vision and growth of the sport outside of learning years

 

Schools Footprint

There are around 400 post primary schools in Lesotho with an average 40 schools per district with well over 50 000 students. Having representation from all these learning hubs provides the quickest way of spreading the game nationwide and ensuring a good reach of over 50 000 players.

 

Influence establishment of home teams

 Both students and teachers who participate in chess while at school get to gain inspiration to transfer the game to their places of dwellings. We have seen great village teams being established near school which performed well in school soccer tourneys. Sefika High School remains the biggest feeder to most professional soccer clubs and the national team to date because of this influence.

In the current chess clubs’ dispensation, 95 percent of them were established by ex- students of a chess playing high school. Masianokeng High School birthed Motloheloa Chess and Mazenod Chess Club. NUL Chess Club gave birth to Khubetsoana Chess Clubs, Utopia Chess Club and the now defunct Spartans Chess Club.

 

Pool of chess trainers

 Teachers are well trained in child psychology and child education. They able to take in complex concepts, simplify them and make them soft enough for their students to assimilate. To put things into perspective, teachers can teach 3-year old’s how to speak English, how to read and write and how to tell when they want to relief themselves.

Teachers are, therefore, perfect chess trainers as they have already assimilated methods and principles of extending knowledge. Sporting codes that are played, taught, and supported by teachers and sporting codes that have teachers as part of the administration soar beyond greater heights. I have seen teachers going beyond their working hours to assist students in their respective sports.

A perfect example is that of Mr Motlatsi Motlhokoa, who is part of the Chess Federation of Lesotho and an employee of St. Patrick’s High School. It is because of him that the school has produced several good players beyond school and influenced the establishment of Qalakheng Chess Club.

Mr Mike Fulbright, a teacher from St Stephen’s High School has also been credited for producing a mouthful of good players and is one of the most renowned chess trainers in the country.

It’s evident and quite clear that the participation of schools in chess and its administration could go a long way in ensuring its growth and sustainability in the country; therefore, they should be made part of.

Checkmate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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