Game plan to promote chess at various levels
The Sunday Times
Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Chess Federation (SCF) thanks Dr Yik Keng Yeong for highlighting the fact that a small country can produce world champions if it leverages its strengths (“Promoting chess is the right move”; last Sunday).

Singapore has produced several international masters (the rank just short of grandmaster) over the past few years.

As Dr Yik has pointed out, chess is uniquely suited to our strengths. Our challenge is in producing a sustainable pipeline of talent that will spur players on to greater heights. Many of our junior players at the primary-school level compete on an equal footing with opponents from countries with more storied chess traditions. They have also managed to hold their own in adult-level competitions, for example, the Asian Cities Chess Championship.

Yet, when many of these juniors reach secondary school, they tend to drop out of chess because of a lack of support from their schools, which either have closed their chess clubs or relegated the sport to a minor co-curricular activity (CCA), forcing the juniors to join another CCA.

Much promising talent has been lost in this way.

The SCF is keen to support schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels that would like to promote chess. We are prepared to work with schools to realise the benefits of chess through talks, supplying coaches and organising events.

Chess teaches resourcefulness, resilience and discipline. How many young children can sustain a high level of mental rigour, emotional balance and physical fitness to last through a four-hour-long game, not just once but twice a day?

Our trainees do that regularly as these capabilities are inculcated from the very beginning, and it is no accident that our most successful players have gone on to successful professional careers.

The SCF’s approach to chess is aligned with the Education Ministry’s current emphasis on character building, as well as the Singapore Sports Council’s Vision 2030, which sees sport as a way by which our youth can be made “future ready”.

Ignatius Leong
Singapore Chess Federation

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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