THE World Chess Federation (FIDE) has offered three scholarships to Zambian young chess players to study in Russia next year in an effort to enhance their education and improve their skills in the sport.
Councillor of FIDE Women’s Commission Zhu Chen disclosed FIDE’s outreach programme to Zambia yesterday when she paid a courtesy call on National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) chairman Mwamba Kalenga.
Chen, who was in the company of African Chess Federation president Lewis Ncube, explained that FIDE was motivated to sponsor African junior chess players because most chess players were critical thinkers due to the sport and in turn performed well in school.
“I am very happy to be in this beautiful country and was excited to meet some of the grassroot chess players in Zambia.
Our task is to ensure that the development of chess is enhanced in the country by offering these scholarships to the young players,” Chen said.
And speaking at the same function, Ncube said there was need for Zambia to benefit from FIDE’s rolled out programme to Africa whose main aim was not only to improve the players’ skills in chess, but also meet their education needs.
He said while the scholarship package that FIDE was offering was covering all the players’ needs while in Russia, government was required to pay for their air tickets to and from Russia.
He noted that Zambia’s performance in continental competitions had improved recently as evidenced by its records during the previous competitions where it was recognised as the most improved team in Africa.
Meanwhile, Kalenga has praised FIDE for its initiative and pledged that the NSCZ will provide two tickets to the three players who will be identified for the scholarship.
He also challenged the Chess Federation of Zambia (CFZ) to be transparent in the manner it will choose the three players.
And CFZ president Ericho Nshikokola assured the NSCZ that the federation will ensure that it makes the selection process transparent so that only the best players will be picked.