Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Sports and Games Department has organized a 5 – day JKUAT Chess Camp that started April 8, 2018 to promote the development of chess among children between the ages of 4 and 18 in the country.
It is no secret that chess can be a difficult game to learn, not just the moves, but the multitude of strategies employed against any given opponent. The inaugural chess camp, organized by Chess Kenya and JKUAT, aims at providing an alternative to nurture and develop chess competency of children thus improving their cognitive and critical thinking skills.
“Chess, typically associated with Science and Mathematics, has the potential to improve the children intellectual skills, self-confidence, attention span, problem solving skills and mental alertness through offering a variety of quality analytical problems to choose from,” attested JKUAT Sports and Games Director, Dr. Waweru Kamaku.
According to the Director, apart from harnessing the children’s chess prowess, the camp that has attracted over 20 children is meant to keep the young ones engaged and their brains active during the holidays.
This is the first in a series of camps that the department of sports intends to hold during school holidays.
The camp provides children with expert instructors and plans to introduce other sporting activities such as abacus, football, rugby, basketball and athletics in future camps in an effort to sharpen the children sporting skills and build an all-round individual.
The camp ends on Friday, April 12, 2019, with a tournament among the children involved in the camp to test and flex their chess skills and strategies they have gained throughout the week.
One of the JKUAT dons in the Department of Landscape Architecture, Dr. Paul Oloyo, who is also one of the instructors at the camp said, the camp would be a breeding and mentorship ground for future chess players.
Chess, he said, is a highly recreational game which instills discipline principles and concentration in players, thus discouraging boredom which eventually leads to indulging in social vices like drinking alcohol and drug abuse.
Talking on the camp’s impact, a Form One Student at Nairobi School, Jayson Ocharo said the camp has been a good opportunity for him to explore and learn something new away from the school setting. Ashley Kibelio, a Form Two student at State House Girls High School, lauded the organizers, saying the time spent at the camp ensured time was well spent during the school holidays.