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Chess Improves Players Cognitive Function

Chess players who participated in the recently concluded Bank Windhoek Kehat Beukes Legacy tournament hosted in Swakopmund said that the game helps build confidence and develop problem-solving skills and is an educational tool. 


The winner of the open tournament, Zhemba Jemusse said that chess is like any other subject in school. “When we play chess, we are quiet so that we can concentrate on communicating with the pieces. When you start to control all the pieces, that is the beginning of playing chess. It is like teamwork combined with art and education,” he said. 


Jemusse is the current Zimbabwean National Champion. He moved to Namibia in 2020 at the invitation of the Namibian Chess Federation to assist them in teaching chess to school learners. When the COVID pandemic hit, he unfortunately had to stop teaching. Jemusse recently started teaching chess again, helping national players and coaches prepare for international events. 


Kamutuua Tjatindi, who won the Women’s Category, said that she enjoys the chess game as it challenges her to do much better as an individual. Tjatindi was the only player who drew against Jemusse, who has never lost a game since he started playing chess at 15. Jemusse is now 27 years old. “Jemusse was a tough opponent, but I managed to get a draw against him, which is good for my ratings,” said Tjatindi.    


A grade 11 learner, Junior Heita, who finished third in the Junior category, said that chess helps him think critically. He added that in the past, he would do things without a plan. "This changed when I started playing chess. I now think of a plan before I do anything,” said Heita, sharing that in 2024, he wants to participate in the Namibian National Chess Championship. 


Thankful for the investment in chess 


The players thanked Bank Windhoek for the platform and encouraged the Bank to continue doing more to develop chess countrywide. “Bank Windhoek is playing a big role in chess in Namibian. Keep up the good work,” said Jemusse. Originally from the Omaheke Region, Tjatindi, who started playing chess in 2014, thanked Bank Windhoek for making its resources available to the players. “I am grateful to Bank Windhoek for making this tournament possible and thanks for supporting the women’s championship a few weeks ago in Windhoek,” she said.   


The nine-round Bank Windhoek Kehat Beukes Legacy event attracted 60 chess players, including participants from neighbouring Botswana and Zimbabwe, to wrestle for supremacy on the 64 squares. It is the longest-running chess tournament in Namibia. It was founded by Dr. Kehat Beukes in 1994 and renamed in his honour after his passing in 1999.  


Beukes was Namibia’s first black specialist physician and served as President of the Namibia Chess Federation. The tournament has maintained its appeal to players of all levels over the years due to its twin approach – the development of chess in Namibia and giving attractive prizes to top players.  


Eight-time Namibian Chess Champion Charles Eichab, who has been the event’s organizer for over 18 years, said that the Bank Windhoek sponsorship was critical for the event's growth. “It propelled things forward and ensured that we could execute our vision quickly,” said Eichab.  


Bernhard von Seydlitz (72) won the Madala Section. Christiaan Cronje (10) won the Cadet section (Under 12). Dawid du Toit had a solid tournament, winning the Youth Section (Under 18). 


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