All the right moves: Beier hosts chess championship for local schools

Some serious tactical manoeuvring and more than a few triumphant checkmates played out at the KwaDabeka Municipal Library earlier this month as local schools gathered for the tenth annual Beier Chess in Schools Championship.

The tournament provides an opportunity for seven local schools from the KwaDabeka, Claremont, St Wendolins and Mariannridge areas of KwaZulu-Natal to compete against each other.

The day’s winners pose with their trophies.

After a day of friendly rivalry, the winning teams and young chess champs were awarded trophies for their efforts. 

As part of its school chess programme, the Beier Group sponsors not only the annual tournament, but also the services of a full-time coach, Mr Mbongeni Sithole, who provides chess lessons to young players in these under-resourced schools throughout the year. Sithole also trains school staff in chess instruction to enhance the sustainability of the initiative.

Chairman emeritus of the Beier Group, Hans Beier, is the founder of the chess programme and an ardent supporter of the game. Chess, he believes, is a powerful tool in helping young learners to develop a number of skills critical for today’s working environment. “Playing chess in my youth certainly helped me to increase my problem-solving abilities, as well as my strategic thinking and creativity,” he notes.

Chess has been shown to improve cognitive ability and academic achievement – especially in mathematics.

This belief is backed by scientific research, which also shows that chess assists in the development of abstract reasoning, logic, performance under pressure, pattern recognition and good sportsmanship. The benefits of the game have certainly been felt at participating schools, with many learners improving their academic performance.

Over the past few years, more than 12 programme participants have represented eThekweni at the prestigious SA National Junior Chess Championships. Their entry fees and costs were sponsored by Beier.

The Group plans to continue with the programme in KwaZulu-Natal and to extend it to other provinces in which its customers operate.