Follow us on:

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube


Chess - Seychelles get ‘The Gift of Chess’ support |22 April 2023

Chess - Seychelles get ‘The Gift of Chess’ support

Mr Bonne playing at the Kenya Open (Photo: Contributed)

Seychelles is now set to become more active as a part of the vibrant global chess community, more committed in pushing each other to new heights and creating a sense of belonging and inclusion, while the local youths will have equal opportunities to learn chess and benefit from the many life skills the game cultivates.

This will be made possible through a donation of chess boards from international charitable and non-profitable organisation ‘The Gift of Chess’ which aims to transform lives through the universal language of chess.

The group distributes chess sets globally, leveraging the game as a low-cost high-impact catalyst for opportunity, especially among the youth.

It was local chess player Robin Bonne who came in contact with the group recently, while competing at the Kenya Open Chess Championship held between April 6 and 10 at the Sarit Expo Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, gathering over 400 players from 20 federations.

Played on a nine-round Swiss format, the competition gathered seven grandmasters and seven international masters who were hunting for the top prize of KES 1 million (US $7,600) in the open section.

Mr Bonne finished 114th overall at the tournament.

In a bizarre turn of events, a sneaky man dressed as a woman managed to cheat his way through to the female section of the tournament.

The cunning impostor, who kept his true identity a secret by wearing a niqab and never spoke to anyone, registered under the name Millicent Awuor and fooled even the tournament staff.

However, his cover was blown when he beat former national champion Gloria Jumba and Ugandan top player Ampaira Shakira, arousing suspicion from other players and the arbiters.

Speaking to Sports NATION, Mr Bonne explained that he was initially offered a total of 500 kits, but decided to take just a few, since there is no proper programme in place to kick-start chess dissemination project.

He said he is in the process of setting up a programme, looking into options of working under the Youth Animateurs Scheme, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

Mr Bonne added that once everything is set up, the full batch of chess kit will be distributed across the different centres around the island.

It was in early 2021 that the ‘Gift of Chess’ was born, with the goal of distributing 10,000 chess sets to public students across New York City, USA.

With children confined to their apartments and spending most of their time on screens, the organisation hoped to rekindle their love for chess and allow families and friends to connect over a physical chessboard.

Over the next few months, the organisation raised money from members of the local chess community to support the purchase of the sets.

In June, the 10,000 sets arrived in New York, and members of the ‘Gift of Chess’ team visited schools around Manhattan and Brooklyn to distribute them.

The initial board of the ‘Gift of Chess’ included founders Russell Makofsky, Tyrone Davis III and Ian West, but has now been expanded to include Rochelle Ballantyne, Michael Shuman, Ryan Rodrigues, and Tunde Onakoya of ‘Chess in Slums’ in Nigeria. After being represented by global law firm Sidley Austin, they are now a US-registered 501(c)(3) charitable organisation, which means that all donations are tax-deductible.



Roland Duval




More news