Early this month more than ten immigrants kids participated in the chess tournament event at St. Louis University. These kids made a history to be the first chess players to represent the immigrant community.  This being their first tournament and first game away away from their usual practice location, many of them were at first full of tension and anxiety.

This event gave them an opportunity to gauge their chess skills and also learn from others. Seven year old Abigail Sankale was paired to play against 72 year old.

She said ” If i can challenge that grandpa, i feel like i can win the championship to be the new queen of Katwe”. Chess club is part of F4KIDZ program introduced this summer to keep kids away from electronic gargets. Each player has online access to log in and practice or play against computer of fellow players. The group meets once a week from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm. Kids who participate in the program indicates they cut down their TV time by 70%. There an increase in number of youth and adults who have also signed up for chess.

Benefits of Playing Chess with Your Kids

1. Chess helps you Concentrate

It’s a reasonably long and involved game. My kids love it so much, they get so involved. You can see the gears whirring, the clogs ticking. The brain being exercised.

2.Chess Develops Problems Solving Skills

What happens if you put your pawn there? Is mummy likely to take it with her queen? How do you get to your ultimate goal of killing your opponents king?

I’m always surprised when I’m busy concentrating on a little pawn when suddenly my king is under attack.

My kids are good at attacking!

3. Chess Improves Your Memory

Just remembering how all the pieces move is enough to stretch my memory. There are heaps of other moves that you can read up on as well.

4.Playing Chess Uses both sides of Your Brain

Chess is a great 3D game and exercises both parts of your brain. As we get older we focus more on one side, the left side and let our right side of the brain get lazy. The more we use both sides of the brain, the better. Brains need to be used and exercised to function at their maximum capacity.

5. Playing Chess Can Raise Your IQ.

Clever people play chess. FACT.

6. Chess Teaches Planning and Fore Sight

7. Chess Helps with Strategy Thinking

8. Chess Improves Your Attention Span

When you’re involved and enjoying something, you’re more likely to concentrate for longer. Do that frequently and you’ll soon improve your attention span. And the attention span of your kids.

9. Chess Improves Reading Skills

A study in 1991 looked at reading performance in elementary schools and compared it with children who didn’t play chess. The kids who played chess were above the national average for reading skills (and they were from a district that overall was below the national average.) I’m sure it’s just to do with getting all those bits of your brain working.

10.Chess Increases Creativity.

Creativity is linked with the right side of your brain. Chess helps your children to come up with original, creative thoughts.

See? All those benefits just from playing a game.

The best part of all these brain-inducing benefits of playing chess is that they just come naturally. You just play chess and have fun. You don’t need to worry about the benefits, it’s not like sitting down to study a book.

And (whispers quietly) yep, it’s great for your kids, but it’s also great for you! As adults, we are so stuck in what we do, it’s great to give our brains a mental work out, to keep it exercising. There was a study that said that people over 75 who played games like chess were less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

There are different ways you can make a difference in the lives of immigrant and refugees women.

1. Donate

2. Volunteer as a guest speaker or a mentor


3. Host a fundraising event.