The Namibia Chess Federation (NCF) on Friday received 1 000 chessboards to develop the sport in the country.
The donation, which forms part of the International Chess Federation’s chess development initiative across Africa, coincided with a visit from grandmaster Nigel Short, who called on the NCF to introduce rated chess tournaments.
“I have seen good things here, a lot of good things, but more rated tournaments are needed on a regular basis. Rated tournaments get people incentives, and is a way to measure their own progress or the lack thereof.
“So, if they are internationally rated, people will start putting more effort into the game,” Short recently told Desert Radio.
“Chess is an ancient sport, introduced some 1 500 years ago, but now it is very well adopted in the modern era.
“There was a massive increase in the popularity of the game during Covid-19,” the three-time British champion said.
“The positive observation I made is that there are quite a lot of people playing chess in the country, and on a continental basis, Namibia scores quite highly,” Short said.
The NCF welcomed the donation.
The federation said it is determined to take the sport to remote areas, but that progress is slow due to a lack of resources.
“Through the distribution of the chessboards, we will be able to meet with chess enthusiasts in the regions who have few chess games,” NCF president Emanuel Sihlahla said.
“We have introduced what we call a ‘grand prix’ in the regions at towns like Omaruru, Gobabis, Rehoboth and Oshakati. At the coastal towns, chess has become very popular. The Erongo region is now beating the Khomas region,” he said.
Meanwhile, Short, whose next stops are Eswatini and Lesotho this week, on Thursday competed in the Windhoek Open and won the competition.
He took on 20 locals, winning 17 games and drawing three against Genius Sihlahla, late-minute replacement Lazarus Shatipamba, and Namibia’s first lady, Monica Geingos.
Source : Namibian