Nurturing Young Talent in Africa

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Teaching chess to kids is a passion as a responsibility. Being blessed to live in a wealthy country with lots of resources means that it’s my duty to give back to those who are not as fortunate. I was happy to be welcomed by Essoh Essis, president of the Côté D’Ivoire Chess Federation, and Philip Emeku, President of the Ghanaian Chess Association, when I asked to return to their countries to train the top juniors. I got as much as I gave. The children have such eager young minds that I couldn’t helped but be inspired by their effervescence, desire to learn, and deep appreciation for my presence. I had the feeling that I was teaching my own. I had a wonderful time, and I plan to return many times in the upcoming years. Africa’s kids need us, and we need them too.

Côté d’Ivoire, Abidjan

Warm welcome at the airport in Abidjan.
Warm welcome at the airport in Abidjan.
At the first-class Pullman hotel in Abidjan
At the first-class Pullman hotel in Abidjan
Chess lessons to the most talented kids in the Abidjan
Chess lessons to the most talented kids in the Abidjan
Let's get serious!
Let’s get serious!
Young sisters working together to win!
Young sisters working together to win!
Mistakes hurt!
Mistakes hurt!
The future chess stars of Côté D'Ivoire
The future chess stars of Côté D’Ivoire

Accra, Ghana

It was so good I returned twice!
It was so good I returned twice!
With one of my former trainees, Rochelle Ballantyne of Brooklyn Castle fame
With one of my former trainees, Rochelle Ballantyne of Brooklyn Castle fame
An incredible welcome by the African-American Association of Ghana
An incredible welcome by the African-American Association of Ghana
Rochelle taking down Ghana's Jamena Joseph to the delight and awe of the crowd
Rochelle taking down Ghana’s Jamena Joseph to the delight and awe of the crowd
Visiting the slave castle at Elmina, a reminder of how much I have benefited from the struggle of our ancestors.
Visiting the slave castle at Elmina, a reminder of how much I have benefited from the struggle of our ancestors.
At B.A.S.I.C.s International School in Shorkor, where founder Pat Wilkins is promoting excellence every single day.
At B.A.S.I.C.s International School in Shorkor, where founder Pat Wilkins is promoting excellence every single day.
Inspirational posters remind the kids of their potential!
Inspirational posters remind the kids of their potential!
One sign of a good school is how much color graces its walls. 
One sign of a good school is how much color graces its walls. 
Kids are shooting for the stars...no matter what their background.
Kids are shooting for the stars…no matter what their background.
Unleashing true potential indeed!
Unleashing true potential indeed!
Though still a long way to go, chess continues to grow as part of the educational system in Ghana.
Though still a long way to go, chess continues to grow as part of the educational system in Ghana.

 

 

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