More invited to come ‘on board’

Many children entered the beginners stage of the tournament.

Chess players from all over Cape Town battled it out in a chess competition in Rylands, last Thursday.

They competed in beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories at the civic centre.

The Friends of the Rylands Library started the tournament three years ago to keep youth off the street. It was held in the library at first but moved to the civic centre as it gained popularity.

There are winter and summer tournaments. Players of all ages battle from early morning to late afternoon, with equipment provided by Chess Western Province. Each child gets a warm plate of food and cold drink as many come from poor homes.

Friends chairman Hakeem Syed said the tournament brought people together to play a game demanding attention, logic, and silent thinking.

“All I want is more people to come on board,” he said.

The Friends offer free chess classes at the library two days a week.

Western Cape Chess president Omar Esau said chess had great benefit for children.

“You always need to think three moves ahead, so we are teaching kids how to think logically and also how to be creative. This sport can be enjoyed in all types of weather and a lot of these kids come from disadvantaged areas.”

Shakir Mayman, 13, from Ron-debosch, played in the intermediate phase and won most of his games.

“I really enjoy being here, and I am happy and it’s been going well,” he said.

Steven Galleid, 65, from Bellville, won the competition last year.

He said: “This is very enjoyable, it is nice to give back to chess. It’s been quite tough with lots of competition here today.

“It’s very important to promote chess among the youth and also to attract some of the other guys.”

Kamvalethu Mqikela, 13, from Crossroads, won all her games in the beginner phase.

“I’m looking forward to winning this tournament,” she said.