Published by the government of Zimbabwe

Ellina Mhlanga

13 November 2010

CHESS is one sporting discipline that has a small following in Zimbabwe and is rarely talked about when compared to other games like soccer and cricket.

Despite its lack of popularity in the country, there are still some individuals who have passion for the sport and are ready to devote their time and resources to turn it into a success story.

One such man is Edmore Matimba, who has embarked on a developmental project in Glen View and Budiriro.

Matimba is working with 18 schools, 14 Primary and four Secondary Schools.

He deals with the Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-16 and Under-20 age groups.

The 26-year-old started the programme in 2006 working with Budiriro 2 Primary and last year Glenview 4 Primary joined the programme.

Then 16 other schools from the two high-density suburbs came on board and so far they have competed in the UZ Open and the Prince Edward Open tournaments.

Budiriro 2 came first in the boys’ Under-12 category while Glenview 2 girls team settled for second position in the UZ Open tournament.

Budiriro girls’ Under-12 team won the title in their age group.

Matimba said it was the love of the sport that drove him to start the talent identification programme.

“We started holding tournaments last year for the schools and since then we have been having regular tournaments.

“We also participate in tournaments being held by the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Schools Chess Association.

“I have been doing some workshops training teachers so that they will continue teaching their pupils in their schools and I am working with about 40 teachers from different schools,” said Matimba.

Matimba said the idea to introduce chess in high density areas came after he saw that the sport was not getting enough support.

“I attended Budiriro 2 primary before I moved to Marondera High for my secondary education and I was frustrated to find out that the only sports that were popular were soccer and hockey among others.

“I could only play chess and that inspired me to start this programme for the community.

“Robert Gwaze also inspired me to introduce chess in schools and he has done so well in international competitions,” said Matimba.

Matimba said he is targeting schools in high-density surbubs

“Now I will be moving to Mufakose and Kambuzuma to complete the whole district since I have been concentrating on Glen View and Budiriro for sometime now,” said.

However, Matimba said lack of funding is their main challenge and they cannot even afford to give certificates to those that would have excelled in tournaments and in the league.

“There have been some challenges and parents are now complaining as their children are not getting anything after competing in tournaments.

“We have financial problems and I cannot give them anything because I do not have money. We need financial support because schools are finding it difficult to meet the financial expenses.

“Budiriro 2 were supposed to join HASCA but could not because it involves a lot of travelling and the school does not have the money,” said Matimba.

Matimba, however, acknowledged that schools and parents have supported his project since its inception in 2006.

“Parents have been supporting and some of them are buying chess sets for us and schools have also been doing the same,” Matimba said.

Matimba’s dream is to see his students scaling to greater heights in the sport and he wants to produce a world champion.

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