Director of Sports for the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Mr Paul Oluwasegun Bankole has said the church is happy to host the first Jubilee International Youth Chess Festival.
Speaking on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the tournament, Bankole expressed joy and satisfaction in hosting over 500 Chess players at the Glory Arena, Redemption camp, noting that since sport unites a nation, the church should not be left behind.
He noted that “Chess is a unique sport entirely, a mind game that assists children cognitively, academically, morally, it’s a very powerful tool to promote unity.
“By the special grace of God, we discovered that no church has done this in the entire world, and we are happy to host the participants. What you are seeing here today is special, bringing people together at the international level like this. As we speak, we have three countries participating and we are still expecting two others.
“The tournament already has international flavour for us to prepare not just tomorrow but today. We have to use sports and this is where the church comes in, our General Overseas, Pastor E.O Adeboye comes in himself who is also a sportsman and our mother in Israel, Pastor Folu Adeboye, also a sportsperson.
“When the leadership of an organization like this is interested in sports, there is no reason why things like this should not be taking place. So, we are concerned about today and tomorrow for our children and teenagers. The church must not just be seeing to be active in religious and spiritual matters, we must be seeing to be active in sports, socio-economic activities and other aspects of life and this is why this is happening here at the Redemption camp.”
Also, the Vice President of the World Chess Federation and the initiator of the tournament, Mr Olalekan Adeyemi Chess is a good sport with a lot of attributes for the young ones.
“Calculating ability, analytical ability, concentration, pattern recognition, critical thinking, logical reasoning, decision making, problem solving abilities, these are attributes that Chess develops in those who play it.
“We believe we should expose our children to this game that are derivable in teaching, learning and practice of Chess, so that is one of the reasons why we decided to put up these programme, Jubilee International Youth Chess Festival, this is the maiden edition and it will be an annual event and we believe that we should help develop the mind of our young ones.
“We use these programmes to teach them Chess and also to bring them away from vices and engage them meaningfully.”