World Chess Day: Changing young people's lives in Elsies River

| Pippa Hudson spoke to development officer at Elsies River Chess Club, Eugene Steenkamp, about the game in Cape Town and the impact it has on the community.

Wednesday marks World Chess Day, and while many people may see it as just a game, it has enormous potential to help young people get involved in something positive.

Pippa Hudson spoke to development officer at Elsies River Chess Club, Eugene Steenkamp, about the game in Cape Town and the impact it has on the community.

Steenkamp started playing chess when he was about five years old. Around the age of 18, he was playing at a high level, and in his 20s he decided he wanted to use chess to give back to the community.

He said playing it was not only something that he enjoyed, but also kept him off the street and engaged in something enriching and healthy.

He became the chairperson of the Elsies River Chess Club at a young age and became passionate about getting young members of the community involved in chess.

A thing that a lot of people don’t know about chess, is that you don’t have to be a genius. Analytical thinking plays a role, but I think it’s more in terms of commitment and discipline, that combined with a passion and love for the game, it’s only those things that you need.

Eugene Steenkamp, development officer at Elsies River Chess Club

While at one stage there may have been a stigma attached to playing chess, or people saw it as uncool, Steenkamp said their members are extremely proud to be chess players and want to go as far as possible with it.

They have had a number of young players find great success playing chess and competing at a national and international level.

Playing chess gives these young players something beneficial to focus on and gives them incredible opportunities to travel and win prizes that can better their lives.

Listen to the audio for more.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : World Chess Day: Changing young people's lives in Elsies River

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