Chess transforms ‘lost boy’ of Sudan
By Nick Harper, Channel NewsAsia
POSTED: 04 Jan 2015 04:05
Majur Juac was one of the thousands of the so-called ‘lost boys’, children separated from their parents and forced to flee due to the civil war in his country
NEW YORK: A former ‘lost boy’ of Sudan has had his life transformed, thanks to his love for chess.
Majur Juac was one of the thousands of the so-called ‘lost boys’, children separated from their parents and forced to flee due to the civil war in his country. But his life took a very different turn when he learned how to play chess.
As a young boy he fled the civil war in Sudan, ending up in a refugee camp in Kenya. With little to eat and nothing to do, the game helped him put the pieces of his life back into place.
Majur Juac, who is now a Chess teacher, said: “To lose a chess game all depends on you. You don’t have to say anything to anybody to win a game. You just have to work with your mind and your hands. So everything depends on you. And I like that idea of not depending on somebody else.”
Majur came to the United States and found work as a security guard. That was until he dropped in a New York chess tournament … and won.
Michael Propper, Chess NYC, said: “I said would you like to discuss the possibility of joining us, becoming a part of Chess NYC. And he said ‘sure’, again very low key, no commitments, no true emotion to it. And the next morning he showed up at our office with a certificate that he was a national master. So we said well he’s certainly qualified knowledge-wise, let’s make him cool.”
Chess NYC signed him up on little more than his certificate and his strength of personality. “What distinguishes him is his warmth. He got a job without interviewing. He came across as decent and he proved his knowledge, he didn’t have to say a word,” added Michael Propper
Majur now teaches chess to thousands of people in the New York area. Chess has in many ways become his life. It has shaped him and now he’s using the game to shape the lives of others.
Full article here.