Chess In SA | Kenny Solomon

Chess In SA

Historically, chess in South Africa has been marginalized and viewed in an apathetic light. There is minimal exposure for South African chess players, compared to exposure given to players overseas. Without SABT’s sponsorship, Kenny would have been lucky to gain exposure internationally once a year, if not once every two years. South Africa doesn’t really have a chess culture, unlike countries like Russia and China, where children are taught to play from as young as four years old. Countries like these have specific chess schools that focus on rearing children to become chess stars. Growing up, Kenny looked up to local chess players much more than famous international players. He still believes that local heroes are much more potent for a country like South Africa, where demonstrating that you need not be a pawn in anybody else’s game is an important lesson. This is one of the reasons he wants to become a South African Grandmaster. Studies show that when players become Grandmasters, chess positively explodes in their home country. Kenny hopes that achieving his goal will be the impetus for the development of chess in South Africa. Initiatives like Chess for Change, which aims to develop chess in local schools, are already changing attitudes towards the game. If Kenny becomes Grandmaster this year, he wants it to be emphasized that his roots are important to him. Just as Kenny works to achieve his full God-given talent as a chess player, he also works to escape the common scenes of African under-development that are so prevalent here. His hope is to inspire other South Africans to reach their full potential through a combination of faith and hard work. It is important to him, first and foremost, that chess be developed in his home country. If South Africa is a chess board and Kenny is its King, then we are in for a rigorous, inspiring and historic game.

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