The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) has received a windfall of monetary donations and scholarship opportunities from the recent visit of the President of Federation International des Eches (FIDE) Kirsan ILyumzhinov to the country.
ILyumzhinov was in Botswana this past week to assist the BCF in launching the Chess in Schools programme.
The programme, which has long been embraced by the BCF, is one of the many initiatives by FIDE to spread the game and to develop it from the grassroots.
While in the country, the FIDE president donated a handy sum of 10 338 Euros, which equates to P124 299 towards the country’s chess Junior national team.
The money was handed out to the team to be used during the ongoing Africa Schools Chess Championships held in Harare, Zimbabwe. The games began this past Friday (August 18th).
During his short stop over, ILyumzhinov met with the Minister of Basic Education Dr Unity Dow for talks on introducing chess as part of the curriculum in schools.
“I met with the Minister of Education ,we will like to include chess as a lesson, other countries take chess as lesson, one time per week or daily and it is not a big budget,” the FIDE president informed the press.
Addressing the media, ILyumzhinov revealed that ‘the affiliated sport administrations and Ministries have agreed that they need his support to formulate chess programs, organise a big tournament and school trainees for talented children to develop skill.’
In a press conference held this past Thursday, 17th of August regarding the decision behind his social call he revealed that Botswana has a good strategic position and is one of the most active chess federations.
Aside from the monetary donation, the FIDE president also revealed scholarships will be availed to excelling young Batswana chess players to further their studies and also develop their game.
Through the agreement, the BCF will annually give free scholarships to the BCF to send a group of students to study in Russia.
Furthermore ILyumzhinov said He also emphasised that chess is a cheap sport which lead to cooperation of departments of Chess to give free Chess scholarship to Russia.
Regarding his visit to Botswana, the FIDE president said he was lured by the BCF’s good work in introducing chess chess in primary schools.
Meanwhile, ILyumzhinov, is said to have held a meeting with the Botswana National Sports Commissiion (BNSC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo.
Among issues discussed at the meeting, according to sources, is ‘the possibility of holding an international chess tournament in Botswana.’
Commenting on ILyumzhinov’s visit, BCF President Mothokomedi Thabano expressed happiness at the visit saying it has opened opportunities for young Batswana players to receive scholarships to study at Russian universities.
He also said the chess in schools programme, as envisaged by the FIDE president to develop chess in schools will put Botswana in an even better competitive position.