African chess has suffered a lot of setbacks as a result of lacklustre coordination in all levels of the chess industry. Nigerian chess undeniably lacks the manpower to compete profoundly with other chess federations across all continents despite the amount of talent she possesses and there are ways in which all chess players, whether playing for a profession or fun, competitively or not, can do their quota to the federation to grow chess in Nigeria and Africa.
1. OFFER TO TEACH PEOPLE AROUND YOU
Of course, the process of learning often begins with teaching. Apart from teaching people about chess gameplay itself, a lot of non-chess players are far from enlightened about the game. They see it either on the same level with or slightly higher level than the likes of Whot, Ayo, Draught, Monopoly, and the rest but what they do not know is that chess packs far more useful benefits than mere entertainment and one can’t blame them because all chess players were once without chess knowledge or passion until they became enlightened.
Once people learn about the benefits of chess, it’s almost certain that their perception of the game would be changed. While downgrading the game is one reason for apathy, another reason could be self-underestimation. Some people believe that chess is for geniuses alone and they would never truly get it but this perception is wrong. They have to be convinced that chess was not created for intelligent people but rather, it creates intelligent people. There are added benefits of teaching chess as we have a lot of coaches that teach chess to individuals, groups, or both and get paid for it. This can occur when people have been shown a glimpse of what the competitive and highly beneficial world of chess offers.
Children must not be exempted from this enlightenment scheme and in fact, they require more attention than even adults because their level of youth is less burdened with the walks of life and hence, their focus in learning and mastering the game would be unhinged. There are thousands of chess prodigies around the world that go shoulder to shoulder with much older, much-experienced masters and emerge victoriously. Some might even say that a hostile takeover is being threatened by child wonders! So make sure you teach chess to someone around you, especially children.
2. DON’T IGNORE PEOPLE THAT ASK TO LEARN FROM YOU
This makes it a lot easier for the chess player in comparison with the previous point. A lot of people come across chess at their workplace, at an event, a visit to a friend’s, a movie, and many other places and wonder what chess is all about. When they see a player battling it on a chessboard, they often approach them to inquire what the game is about, and more often than not, they get ignored with players citing busyness as a hindrance as to why they can’t attend to their curiosity at the moment. Some players go-ahead to discourage people by stating that they won’t get it because it’s too complex.
Requesting brief patience while you finish your game is not wrong, but if you’re willing to contribute to the growth of chess, take time to put that curious mind through on the basics immediately you’re through starting from the benefits of chess before moving on to other things. Give chess a highly interesting outlook as it is. If these curious minds get ignored too many times by chess players, they might have the perception that chess players dwell too much pride in their game that they aren’t willing to share their knowledge with others which is far from the truth. At the very start, give them a picture of what the world of chess is like.
3. SHARE CHESS CONTENT FOR AWARENESS
Some broadcasts go around on social media and even offline about chess, like tournaments, news, articles, images, magazines, flyers, links, and so on. These contents should not be meant for chess players or on chess platforms alone. Chess teaches us the art of sacrifice and every chess player can use that knowledge and apply it in this scenario. Minimally sacrificing individual social media platforms for the growth of chess is a good move every chess player ought to be proud of.
There’s a high probability that a lot of non-chess players might get fascinated by the content you share from time to time and look up to you for mentorship. You could do your bit by enlightening that curious individual well enough to affirm their interest and this is often how most coaches start, attracting monetary benefits in the long run while also growing one’s knowledge in chess as a player with some experience.
4. DESIST FROM CHEATING OF ANY FORM
“Desperate” is a word well-suited to describe some chess players especially the chess players that ply their trade online. Their urge for victory exceeds their sense of honour and hence, they are pushed to cheating to attain prizes, glory, recognition, and the rest of the perks that come with winning a chess match or a tournament. Players like these tarnish the reputation of the Royalty Game and such acts must be discouraged in our growing chess community. Acts like the use of chess engines to play, sandbagging, proxy accounts, double moves, piece addition/displacement and so on must be discouraged before it takes root deep into the African chess community.
5. REPORT CHEATERS TO THE NECESSARY AUTHORITIES
To attain victory, chess players must work hard to get where they ought to be because improving the gameplay is permanent while cheating is highly temporary and will eventually attract sanctions and dishonour.
Despite what the majority of the general chess society might think of someone who calls out cheaters, every chess player has to bear in mind that this act is for the greater good. One would be making an individual effort – a sacrifice to ensure the betterment of the African chess society.
Bans, suspension and other sanctions given to cheaters will serve as a strong means to discourage chess players with the intention of cheating especially when they observe that renowned cheaters don’t get away with their shameful acts
Every chess player has to understand that they have a duty to their chess community. They might not employ the use of all these means to grow the community, but they ought to perform at least one of the aforementioned ways to fertilize and grow chess.
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