Kasparov Outlines Benefits of His Chess Foundation to Nigeria If Rightly Embraced.

Chess legend Garry Kasparov, has shed light on the importance of his Chess Foundation to Nigerians and the African continent at large, if allowed to work on full scale.

The Russian Grand Master made the pronouncement at a crowded press conference to round off the three-day working visit of the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) to Nigeria on Sunday.

The former World champion said: “My visit to Nigeria has yielded positive results in many ways. I had a fruitful discussions with the top hierarchy in the National Sports Commission (NSC), and they were delighted with what my foundation plans to do for the country. At the Ministry of Education, they were overwhelmed with the radical ideas of using their platform (schools) to help lift the mental ability of the children at no cost.

Garry Kasparov Concludes His Three-Day Visit to Nigeria.
Garry Kasparov Concludes His Three-Day Visit to Nigeria.

“We have to perform to their expectation and I see this as a huge challenge considering the fact that I met with many top business executives in your country who have promised to support the project.”

All things being equal, Kasparov expects the project to take off by September 2014 and will target children between the ages of 5-9 years.

He explained that such age grade have the ability to assimilate quickly the “basic chess principle” regardless of their settlement areas.

“Our target is between ages of five to nine years because they have the potentials to assimilate the basic principles and the effects because decision making mechanism begins to go flat from age 10 years. It will even be better if we pick kids from the rural areas who are lacking in basic education but are able to make up with the basic principle of chess as a basis to a ‘Man of their World’ in the future. The educational system here will determine how it will work here.”

Kasparov who became the youngest world chess champion in history of the game in 1985 and remained the top-ranked player for more than 20 years, noted that Nigeria can challenge the rest of the world if it develops her potentials.

He pointed out that Japan, India and China were able to rise to the American challenge because they were able to exploit their respective human resources. “It is all about human factor because when you have the talents you must create the environment for it to work at optimum capacity.

“The Philippines is just about half the population of Nigeria but have 15 grand masters as against Nigeria with none and same with Egypt and Morocco with notable Grand Masters too. However, the fundamental problem of Africa is that they are too isolated from the main chess arena aside Egypt and Morocco that have exploited their proximity to Europe'” he explained.

He explained that with the coming of his foundation to Nigeria, it will afford it the opportunity to excel at the World chess Olympiad.

“My Foundation will take care of some of these fundamentals and at the same time create job opportunities for Nigerians because we will come here with our trainers who will organise seminars and work shop and thereafter your coaches will take charge inform of job opportunities,” said Kasparov who is also seeking to become the next president of FIDE at the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway in August.

On whether his political ambition will truncate the project, the chess genius said they are projects working at a parallel line. “Absolutely not possible because chess is my life, it gave me fame and its time for me to give back to the world what I have learnt over the years. This why it’s a foundation,” he remarked.

The Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa has been working extremely hard since its launch in March 2012 to raise funds for the broader development of chess across the continent and has made considerable progress in this regard over the last few months.

Culled from the Vanguard News.