Chess programme launched in Denham Town
The community centre in Denham Town, Kingston, was filled with excitement yesterday when THE STAR visited as children and some older persons got the opportunity to learn how to play chess.
Social Development Manager of the National Housing Trust (NHT), Wendy-Jo Williams, explained that the NHT has partnered with Jamaica Chess Association and Golden Heights Citizens Association to teach children how to play chess and to use the sport to enable children to grasp valuable life lessons.
She said that at first they were aiming to have roughly 20 children take part. But to her delight, more than 60 children showed up.
"The children are learning the roles and functions of all the pieces in the game and then we use that to teach them life lessons and life skills. So we tell them they are like the king or queen and we tell them how a king and queen behave. It (chess) teaches other life lessons such as patience because not every move will make you win the game," she said.
She said that they are trying to ensure that the same opportunities children in the uptown areas have, are given to the children in the inner-city.
The project happened simultaneously in other communities such as Majesty Gardens in St Andrew, Spanish Town in St Catherine, and Longville Park in Clarendon.
"Right now, we are just testing to see what the response is like, and it has been overwhelming. The children are learning the game and they are very excited about it," she said.
Ryan Blackwood, the national master of the Jamaica Chess Federation, said that the children are learning very quickly.
He said as a way to enable them to keep interest, chess boards will be given to some of the participants and one lucky child will get a scholarship to attend Chess Wiz Academy.
Sabrina, whose 10-year-old was very active yesterday, said that she is very happy that a programme like this was instituted because she is seeing the positive results.
"I feel good that they choose this community because the children are very excited and it is an effective programme. It motivates the children to learn and they are very happy," she said.
Williams said that there is going to be a national tournament at the Emancipation Park at the end of the month and she is hoping that at least one child would enter. She said that she has high hopes for the children because they are very enthusiastic about the sport and are very interested to learn about it.