ZIMBABWE intends to send a strong 14-member team to the African Schools Chess Championship slated for August in Namibia.The 14 players earned the right to wear national colours after dominating their age groups in recent national championships organised by the Zimbabwe Primary Schools Chess Association in Bulawayo.
“The association will cater for the 14 players who finished first at the national tournament.
We would have loved to carry more players but because of financial constraints we are restricted,” commented ZPSCA vice-chairperson Prosper Zoto.
Zoto said with corporate support, Zimbabwe would produce chess grandmasters.
“The game has been growing and most of the provinces are active,” he said.
“We also have another tournament coming in Egypt towards the end of the year and this one we have reserved it for those players who came second, third and fourth at our national tournament.
We are appealing for the corporate world to chip in and assist us in developing the young talent at our disposal.”
With Team Zimbabwe made up of the cream of junior chess players in the country, Zoto expects a healthy medal haul in Namibia.
“Last year in Zambia our Under-11 player Refilo Mudodo from Mashonaland East won gold and Rumbidzai Mawire from Harare came second. Both were both awarded the Woman Candidate Master accolade.
“This year we are hoping for a much improved show because the talent we have at our disposal is just incredible,” he said.
Plans are afoot to take chess to rural schools.
“Chess can only grow if we take the game to the people,” Zoto noted. “There is abundant talent in rural areas and we are going down there to capture it.
Matabeleland South, for example, is laden with talent and have planned a national training workshop for primary school teachers in that area.”
ZPSCA was formed three years ago by chess-loving parents who had accompanied their children to the African Schools Championship in Botswana.
It is run mainly by primary school teachers amidst hope that a partnership with the National Association of Primary School Heads will be forged.