Grandmaster Inspires Young Chess Players for the Future
The success of the chess ‘revolution’ in the Western Cape is mainly built around the youth. A simultaneous exhibition by the English Grandmaster Nigel Short inspired a group of chess emerging players from different schools in the province to improve their game on Wednesday, 6 February 2013.
In chess, a simultaneous exhibition is when one player plays a number of games at the same time. The event took place at the Curro Primary School in Century City. Mr Short is touring Johannesburg and Cape Town to promote the sport and share his experiences around tactics and open play with young chess players.
The exhibition was made possible by a partnership between Chess South Africa and Chess Western Province, supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. Regarded as one the strongest English players of the 20th century, Short was awarded the title in 1984, aged 19, making him the youngest Grandmaster in the world at that time.
He was pleased to see young players so passionately involved in the game. “Chess is a young person’s game. It’s not something you do for an hour or two on a Saturday and you expect to be successful at a national or international tournament. You need to practise on a regular basis.” The Grandmaster encouraged the participants to make use of technology and a chess database to improve their game.
Short drew only one match at the exhibition, which showed that the opportunity to play against any Grandmaster is a valuable experience for any young chess player. Many of them described this experience as a “dream come true”. This brought joy and boosted their confidence.
Kaylyn Fritz (16) from De Kuilen High School in Kuils River described the event as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and her toughest match to date. “To play against a world-class player like Grandmaster Short was an unbelievable honour. He taught us so much and I’m confident that we can only improve from here”, said Fritz.
Mohammed Bhawoodien (18), a first-year natural science student at the University of Cape Town drew against the Grandmaster and said he would never forget this experience as it had made him a more confident chess player. Short was the third Grandmaster he has played.
Nigel Short’s visit has helped to popularise chess in the Western Cape and served as a positive role model for emerging players. With the support of the facilitating partners, the exhibition set new standards for players. Chess is an educational tool with the potential to play a key role in uplifting communities.