No fewer than 200 players, including over 400 enthusiasts and spectators are expected to participate in a Chess and Scrabble fiesta in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the week-long tournament organised by BeeCass Chess Club, is expected to run from Aug. 21 to Aug. 26 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Cassandra Otobong, Co-founder of BeeCass Chess Club/Foundation, Abuja told NAN on Monday that the Nigeria Chess Federation and the Chess Players’ Association of Nigeria were in support of the tournament.
“This is why we are using the National Stadium as our venue because of the large number of participants expected to attend the event.
“Chess is not just for the players but for everyone to come and participate and enjoy the game,” she said.
She said that the tourney would serve as both fiesta to raise funds for vulnerable children as well as a pre-tourney qualifier for the National Championship.
“The first day is going to be BeeCass Chess and Scrabble fiesta.
“The purpose of this tournament is to foster unity between chess and scrabble players and also an avenue to raise funds to send orphans and vulnerable children back to school.
“This event will also serve as a pre-tourney for the much awaited and anticipated North Central Zonal Championship,” she said.
Otobong said that the north central zonal championship was a pre-qualification tournament for the National Championships.
She said that the winner of the championship would represent the North Central zone at the preliminary stage.
According to her, qualifiers will participate in the National Chess Championships in Lagos in October.
“This tournament is a highly-rated event for the North Central because without this tourney it simply means that there will be no North Central representative at the National Championships.
“So, that’s why this tournament is very important not just for the players who will have the opportunity to improve their ratings, but for all chess stakeholders and enthusiasts here in the north.
“The chess and scrabble fiesta will be played in the rapids format on the first day, while the classical format will be used from the second day to the grand finale for the north central zonal chess championship,” she said.
She appealed to well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists as well as private and corporate organisations sponsor the event, adding that chess was not just a game but an educational tool.
“We want to change the narrative as we have realised that chess is not just a game but an educational tool that you can use to improve your social and mental agility.
“So, that’s what we intend to achieve as well as push for its inclusion in the curriculum of schools across the country,” she said.
She advised parents to encourage their children to participate in the game so that they can also benefit, and imbibe some good values that the game teaches at an early age.
“It helps the children’s development so that when they get to a certain stage in life; they already have good planning, strategy and execution skills,” she said. (NAN)