More than 450 youth participated in the recent three-day nationwide chess training camp held in 13 youth centres across the country.
Twenty-six winners, a girl and boy from each centre, from the 13 youth centres were selected to compete in the day-long tournament on September 9 in Thimphu to declare the Bhutan National Youth Chess champion of 2022.
Participants were taught the basics of chess, the rules, some advanced opening combinations, and a few tactical ideas about how the game is played.
One of the winners, Kinga Tshering, a class X student of Trashigang Middle Secondary School said: “The camp is timely. I learned notation and tactics. I have been playing chess for many years but didn’t get such training.”
He participated in minor tournaments so far. “The opportunity so far was mostly for youth in Thimphu.”
The 16-year-old wants to win the upcoming tournament. He said that given the required training youth would perform better in chess.
Bhutan Chess Federation (BCF) in collaboration with the Department of Youth and Sports conducted the training funded by UNICEF.
Another winner, Yeshi Ngedup, 16, said the training was meaningful. “I was taught by my father since class III. Two of us used to play most of the time. I aim to compete at the national level.”
A class X student of Khangkhu Middle Secondary School said that there were no tournaments in most of the schools and that such training would establish a chess culture.
Chess Captain Thinley Palden Dorji said the training was conducted to identify talented players. “They will be provided training by professional coaches to form the youth team to participate in the World Youth Championship in 2023.”
Thinley Palden Dorji said that the long-term vision was to identify young talent at a tender age and to give them structured, professional training and support so that the future national team performs even better.
For grassroots chess development, Thinley Palden Dorji said that BCF would also train teachers in future to teach chess in the schools.