The Technical Director, Lagos State Chess Association (LSCA), Bayo Babalola, on Sunday appealed for more sponsorships of tournaments at the grassroots for the discovery of more talents in chess.
Babalola made the call while reviewing the just-concluded PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Chess4change Championships at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, in an interview.
PwC, a multinational professional service network, headquartered in U.K. is the second largest professional services firm in the world and one of the big four auditors along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
The tournament for the secondary school started last Wednesday ended on Friday and had 22 schools with about 320 students as participant.
The first edition of the competition in 2014 had six schools represented but the number was doubled in 2015 to 12, and now increased to 22.
Babalola said that dearth of competitions at the grassroots might not augur well for the future of the game in the country.
“We need more grassroots sponsorships for competitions for chess in the country. PwC cannot do it alone. All hands must be on deck to promote the sport.
“As we know grassroots competition is the future of any sport. So we need more of these championships to help the game grow more in Nigeria.
“PwC has been in the forefront of grassroots chess sponsorship for the past three years because they believe that there are so many benefits children can derive from it.
“Aside that, chess can help the children professionally, it can also help them academically too. It improves the mental alertness of the kids. It’s such an undeniable fact,’’ he told NAN.
Babalola urged government at all levels to consider adding chess to the school curriculum, noting that it was done in some overseas countries.
“We have talked about the usefulness of chess to the development of any child mentally and I know government is well aware of this, yet they are doing nothing to develop it.
“As a matter of importance, government need to add chess to school curriculum. Many countries overseas have tried it and it worked for them. We should copy that.
“Adding chess to the school curriculum will help to stimulate the mental alertness of the students, it will also increase their analytical thinking and quantitative and qualitative reasoning.
“Chess has a lot of benefits children can derive, so we need to give it the due consideration it deserves,’’ he said.