And Grade 5 learner at Dumezweni Primary School (Diepkloof-Soweto), Asavela Mbewana, is adamant that chess has improved his Maths.
Since its launch three years ago, the Tsogo Sun Moves For Life is a chess programme used as an educational tool for grades 6 to 9, whose focus is Maths and Science.
Even four-time Chess world champ Susan Polgar concurs.
Launched amid fanfare and excitement as a result of celebrities in attendance on Wednesday in Johannesburg, the Bree Primary School and other pupils from other schools only fixed their eyes on the chess game, anticipating what is called “touch is a move” onslaught.
The Sun Moves For Life Chess programme has been introduced to 31 000 learners in more than 100 schools and has trained over 900 teachers country-wide, thanks to backing from BHP Billiton, Sasol and Anglo American.
It is divided into three key elements, MiniChess (Grade R to Grade 3), MasterMoves (nine years and older), and teacher training.
Marcel von Aulock, CEO at Tsogo Sun, says the group chose to support chess in its far-reaching corporate social investment programme as chess fits well with its strategy of promoting sport and education in our schools.
“Also important is that chess is one of the government’s top 16 priority sporting codes for inclusion at school level and so it aligns closely with government’s educational initiatives.”
Polgar continued, according to research, test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities.
Research reveals that chess improves concentration; develops logic and abstract thinking, is analytical, helps with visualisation and decision-making skills.
John Ramarumo, Principal of Muzomuhle Primary adds that the Tsogo Sun Moves for Life programme goes even further and “enables learners to believe in themselves.”
The success of this project has convinced the Western Cape to roll-out the programme in all schools.
It has been implemented in six provinces in which Tsogo Sun’s leisure destinations are located, reaching ten schools in the Soweto area; six in Diepsloot near Fourways; 11 on the West Rand; three in Welkom in the Free State; 10 on the West Coast and six in Mossel Bay- both in the Western Cape; two in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal; and two in Witbank in Mpumalanga.