The US Chess Center played a match with a team from the Lusaka Province Chess Association (LPCA) in Lusaka, Zambia, on Saturday afternoon (evening in Africa), June 12th. Each team was supposed to field 12 students, but the Zambian team had a few technical difficulties and only nine were able to participate. The games were hard-fought, with every player having plenty of opportunities.
Before and after the match, the students went to break-out rooms to meet and learn about each other. In addition to having common interests in sports and music, the kids from both locations like to play video games and have parents who restrict how much time they may spend online.
The coaches discussed the challenges of attracting and keeping girls involved with chess. In Zambia, much competition is played among teams and the leagues require that at least one player per six-person team be female. The coaches have succeeded in educating parents about the long-term value, both cultural and educational, of chess so that their attrition rate is low.
An excellent relationship was established and more matches between the two groups are expected to occur starting this summer.
Here are some of the games played (Click the board to view the game at Lichess):