Every checkmate begins with the first move

Every year on July 20, the world commemorates International Chess Day, the day the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1924.

The idea of ​​celebrating this day was proposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and it has been celebrated since 1966. According to FIDE President Kirsan IIyumzhinov, on 12 December 2019, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously approved the resolution recognizing the day.

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A 2012 Yougov poll showed that a surprisingly stable 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point in their lives, and this day is celebrated by many of the 605 million regular chess players in the world. The origins of chess are a matter of debate as multiple theories attribute the beginning of this game to countries like India, China, Russia and Central Asia.

Mndeni Njapha, who teaches chess in public and private schools around Durban, said it is never too early or too late for a person to learn to play chess.

“I started playing chess at six and have never looked back. I can’t say I’m the master of chess, but I know it better than many other people. I’m happy that nowadays many schools integrate chess into daily learning to help children develop critical thinking skills and learner engagement in classrooms,” he said.

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Njapha says chess improves memory, alertness and creativity. He advised anyone to play chess to improve their critical thinking skills. “Anyone can play chess, regardless of age and race. If a parent is serious about helping a child progress in school and in life, enroll them in chess lessons at schools. No only your child will have fun learning a classic game, but they will develop valuable life skills that will set them up for future success,” he added.

The chess teacher provided distinct lessons that people can learn by playing chess. Njapha’s lessons are as follows:

  • Calm under pressure
  • Problem solving
  • Abstract reasoning
  • creative thinking
  • Strategic thinking
  • Pattern recognition
  • Reduces stress

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