In a board of chess, the king’s life is at stake. With the rook, bishop, knight, and pawn set for battle, they are met with an equal amount of opposition strength. They must then counter with skills, knowledge, patience, tactics, and above all, strategy.
Life in Nigeria can sometimes take the semblance of a game of chess. With about 40% of the country’s 212 million population living in poverty, tact, vision, smart work, are some of the vital requirements to emerge victoriously.
Interestingly, there is a unique feature in a chessboard: the pawns are dreaming of being kings. Chess In Slums is an initiative to help children find life-changing opportunities by teaching and unlocking the potential in every child, using chess educational resources and mentorship. This dream has been activated in the hearts of children living in slums by 27-year-old Tunde Onakoya with his project, Chess In Slums. Ferdinand Maumo, a 10-year-old born in Makoko with cerebral palsy, a speech impediment, and could hardly speak English was declared the 2021 chess champion of a tournament organised by Chess In Slums.
For the first time, people were seeing an elite game quickly being adopted and celebrated among those considered lower class in society. A few days in, the governor of Lagos state, Sanwo-Olu invited the champion for a game of Chess. Then, by the end of 2021, another pawn in the game of chess, an 18-year-old bus conductor, Fawaz Adeoye, won another tournament organised in Oshodi, a notorious location in Lagos. The winnings for the homeless conductor included a 2 million Naira prize.
For more details click Chess in the Slum