Local Chess Hero Encourages Youth to Make A Move
Typically modest about his achievements, local chess Grandmaster-elect Kenny Solomon fulfilled his lifelong dream when he played a simultaneous exhibition match against 20 promising young players at the Rocklands Library in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town on Tuesday, 26 March 2013.
The exhibition was a truly inspiring moment for a player who grew up in modest circumstances in a country where there is relatively little funding or support for chess. The event was a partnership between South African Bunkering & Trading (SABT) and Chess Western Province, supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.
Solomon is on the verge of attaining the one of the highest rankings in the chess world. “Many elements make a good chess player – talent, hard work, etc. Dedication, determination and perseverance are what helped me,” he said. As a young player, Solomon had few opportunities but he did not give up. He wants young chess players to take this message to heart.
He was impressed by the talent of the young players. “It is great to see them so passionately involved in chess. They already have a positive attitude towards improving their game. They should practice regularly, study chess books and programmes, focus on their education and enter tournaments.”
Currently living in Italy, Solomon described his visit to his home town of Mitchells Plain as a way of giving back to his community by encouraging people to play chess, indoors and outdoors. Is chess a sport? Is it a game? Solomon is adamant that it is a sport, but added that it can be played as a game on the internet and as a sport against an opponent.
Solomon also spoke to young chess players at the Curro Private School in Century City on Thursday, 28 March 2013. He emphasised that each of us has the power to change our own lives through hard work and dedication, and become more than we ever dreamed we could be. Kaylyn Fritz (16) from De Kuilen High School enjoyed the Grandmaster-elect’s address. “We all look up to Kenny for what he has achieved, and learning from him will benefit us and the game in South Africa”, said Fritz.
Solomon complimented the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Ivan Meyer for initiating a chess “revolution” in the Western Cape. “Access to chess boards in schools, libraries, museums and public spaces is encouraging people to play chess”, he said.
His dream became a reality, while his visit helped to popularise chess locally as an education tool. Through Kenny’s moves, partners worked together to heighten awareness of the value of playing chess.