The Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club (SCCC) is encouraging visitors of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) to put their chess-skills to the test in a number of exciting challenges. In one activity, UAE Chess Champion Mohammed Essam will be challenging 6 visitors in 6 different simultaneous chess games.
On all days during the festival, visitors can also take part in a giant chess game. Unlike the normal game in which pieces are moved by two fingers, these need pieces need to be lifted using two hands. “It’s an attraction by itself and encourages visitors to try their hand at this game,” said Sohib Okla, trainer at the SCCC.
In addition to the activities, the SCCC is also teaching the youngsters how to play the game and which tactics to use. “There’s a lot that children can learn from chess,” said Okla. “Things like being calm, being patient, concentrating, challenging oneself on a mental level, enriching the imagination, understanding probabilities and excelling in mathematical calculations are all skills that are boosted by chess,” he said.
Okla is pleased that chess is increasing in popularity but wishes that it were more popular in people’s homes. “This game develops children’s talent and abilities unlike many other popular games that don’t,” he said.
When it comes to learning how to play chess, Okla recommends that children start from a very young age, as young as 5 or 6 years old. “This is when there’s more mental flexibility and less life-induced stress,” he said, adding that he himself started at the age of 7. Nearly half of the members at the SCCC are under 12 years old, he said.
The Chess activities takes place every day during the SCRF.
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Aliaa Al Ori