The Kenya National Youth and Cadet Chess Championships (KNYCCC) event was officially closed by Kisii County Governor Simba Arati on Wednesday, April 26 at Kisii School.
The event saw a total of 3,117 school-going children participate in categories of under 8 years, under 10 years, under 12 years, and under 14 years.
The governor thanked the participants and sponsors of the event, noting that chess is a growing sport in Kenya.
Kisii County was hosting the event for the first time, and the governor highlighted that the event had helped create awareness that chess is a game just like any other and not just for a select few as previously presumed.
The KNYCCC event registered the highest number of chess competitors ever in the country, highlighting the growing popularity of the sport.
The governor advocated for chess to be included in school programmes countrywide for continuity of the game and to improve the cognitive abilities of young players in areas such as problem-solving, planning, concentration, social relationships, and creativity.
He emphasised that these skills are essential for learning at such a young age.
“This event has been a success, and it highlights the need for more support and investment in chess programmes countrywide. Including chess in school programmes will not only contribute to the growth of the sport but also develop cognitive skills in young players,” Arati said.
“Chess provides a career path for young stars and so parents are called upon to support their children who are willing to be part of this game wholeheartedly,” the governor added.
The winners of the KNYCCC event will represent Kenya in Egypt in September at the continental level.
Medals and merit certificates were issued to the top three players in each category.
Chess Kenya Federation President Bernard Wanjala also attended the event and commended the participants for their outstanding performances.
By Misheba Alfred.