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Chess is a growing game and the City of Cape Town’s libraries are making all the right moves to ensure that patrons get on the board. Several libraries have already established chess clubs, with many more reporting a marked increase in interest in the sport. Read more below:

The City’s libraries are recreational hubs and chess has become a growing game, says the new Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Anda Ntsodo.

‘Chess is often referred to as sport for the brain as it exercises both sides of the brain, stimulates creativity, and improves problem-solving skills,’ said Councillor Ntsodo.

Several of the City’s libraries have established chess clubs. Some meet on an ad hoc basis, while other libraries hope enough interest and donations of chess sets will help to get a club going.Libraries where chess clubs meet regularly include Heideveld, Eerste River, Kraaifontein, Rylands, Durbanville, Moses Mabhida, Rocklands, Harare, Southfield and Goodwood.

The Ulwazi Chess Club, in collaboration with the Mitchells Plain Chess Club, provides coaching and training to avid learners at the Rocklands Library.

While some libraries report regular players, no formal club exists.

‘We have many ad hoc players who play when they have time or bring their own boards as the library may not have any. Students, the elderly and even young children sit down at the chess tables to play. The game has benefits for all ages. It improves memory as there are a number of rules to remember, it improves reading skills, and can help develop fine motor skills,’ said Councillor Ntsodo.

At the Observatory Library, large chess pieces are used with carpet tiles that demarcate the blocks on the board.

Two regular patrons at the Colin Eglin Library in Sea Point often take their own chess boards to play while using the library’s books on strategic chess moves to hone their skills.

‘Quite a few of the libraries hold chess tournaments and competitions during school holidays. We would like to encourage young and old residents to get on board as the game is sure to open up a whole new world. The benefits of playing chess will have patrons feeling like kings and queens,’ said Councillor Ntsodo.

Residents should contact the librarian at their local or visit to find out more.


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