The prestigious 2016 African Youth Chess Championships will be hosted courtesy of The Boardwalk at its Light Houses venue from 21 to 29 August 2016. The event will see 520 top young chess players with their teams and supporters, from 15 countries pit their skills against each other in the eight day tournament which is held under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation (ACC) and Chess South Africa (CHESSA), and accredited by the World Chess Federation (Federation Internationale des Echecs, known as FIDE from its French acronym). This is the largest meeting of young chess players, representing countries from across Africa, ever hosted. The public is encouraged to come down and watch the exciting chess battles.
The tournament has been described by African Chess Confederation President, Lewis Ncube, as a historic phase for chess development on the African continent, providing the premier competitive challenge for the Continent’s youngsters to showcase their talents and progressive achievements. Since the inaugural event in 2009, the tournament has grown in both participation levels as well as the standard of play and this will be the biggest.
This has been recognised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in upgrading the title awarded to the Gold Medallist in the top age group, the Under 18, to International Master (IM) title in the Open Section and Woman International Master (WIM) in the Girl’s Section.
In addition to hosting the Eastern Province Senior Closed Chess Championship in November 2015, The Boardwalk has been in partnership with Nelson Mandela Bay Chess Union since 2011 and has played host to the Commonwealth Chess Championships 2013 and the African Youth Chess Championships in 2013.
“We are delighted to host to the African Youth Chess Championships for the second time. Chess is known to impact positively on the development of important skill sets within children. There is much research to back up claims that chess improves concentration; it develops logical thinking, analytical skills, visualisation skills, decision-making skills, abstract thinking, planning skills, and memory, among others. The Boardwalk therefore considers its involvement in chess as part of its commitment uplifting and developing South Africa’s youth. It is awesome to see the game of chess so relevant and alive amongst today’s young people. We want to help keep it this way,” says Brett Hoppé, the General Manager of The Boardwalk.
The event promises nail-biting competition and the stakes for the young players are high. The winners in each age group will qualify as Africa’s representatives at the 2017 World Youth Chess Championships in Montevideo, Uruguay for the Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 age groups; as well as the 2017 World Cadet Championships to be held in Brasilia, Brazil for the Under 8, Under 10 and Under 12 age groups.
There are however further opportunities for the youngsters in a restructured age format of the 2016 African Schools Individual Championships in December 2016. In this particular event, it is the odd numbered age groups of Under 7, Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 that can also attempt to bring additional honours to their respective countries.