Lagos Is Home Of Chess In Nigeria – Says NCF

ChessTHE Permanent Secretary, Office of Sports, Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Sewedo Oluseyi Whenu, has welcomed Director, Kasperov Foundation, African Zone, Mr. Graham Jurgensen, who is on a visit to Nigeria alongside President of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) Mr. Lekan Adeyemi and his secretary, Mrs. Bidemi Ganiyu Opollo.

Whenu, while receiving them, said that chess as a game is well developed in Lagos State owing to government’s policy of grassroots sports development across the sports.

He said, “government believes that our youth are our tomorrow and they should be assisted to excel in their sports aspirations and achievements. Lagos would continue to exploit ways of staying ahead in the development of chess.”

On the issue of the introduction of mini chess game to primary schools in the state, Whenu said that the Office of Sports has a department in charge of schools sports that will propagate the mini chess game initiative in conjunction with other agencies such as Ministry of Education and Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LSUBEB) as the game would help enhance the pupils in further understanding and solving Mathematical and English problems.

He concluded that “the agencies of sports in the state will not relent in developmental sports as various initiatives like the Adopt-A-Talent Sports Programme is put in place to further identify, develop and mentor our athletes, giving of scholarships to athletes in schools, skill acquisition trainings amongst others in order to encourage and prepare our athletes for their future challenges.”

Adeyemi said NCF has just concluded the Millionaires Chess Festival with Lagos producing over 52 per cent of chess players in Nigeria. He stated that mini chess game would be an educational tool for improving mathematics at the primary school level as the federation hopes to produce tomorrow’s Masters with this initiative.

He added that Lagos State chess players emerged the top five positions at the recently concluded U-16 National Tournament. These Lagos players, Bakare Toyosi, Ijezie Chuma, Atawodi Emmanuel, Sulaiman Aishat, Okpegbuwo Somto and Ogunleye Elizabeth, according to him would represent Nigeria at an international tourney soon. He added that NCF has also fully supported the Lagos Chess Classics from inception.

Director, Kasperov Foundation, African Zone, Mr. Graham Jurgensen said the purpose of his visit is to further strengthen the cordial relationship between NCF and Lagos State. According to him, chess is the second most popular sport in the world per number of players and tournaments.

Jurgensen is looking at the possibility of chess featuring in the primary schools curriculum in Nigeria, with a catchment of between 20 and 25 per cent of pupils. He canvassed for the continued working relationship between NCF and Lagos State with the ultimate aim of getting the private sector to drive the development of the game.

He concluded by inviting Lagos State delegation to the Millionaires Chess Tournament that would take place in Las Vegas, United States of America, from October 8 to 12 , 2015.

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