The Valkyries Chess Club, with the support of the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Association, formally began training of children from the Credo Foundation for Justice homes for boys and girls ( which includes Sophia House and the Credo Drop-In Centre) on October 4, 2015.
Currently there are 12 children who have began training. The programme began giving the children a history about chess in Trinidad and Globally. The children were also exposed to insights about the level of chess activity within Trinidad and Tobago.
As the programme was now expanded to include boys, the services of 16-yr old FM Joshua Johnson and 12 yr old Kyron Agostini were used in addition to 14 yr old WCM Gabriella Johnson and Della-Marie Walcott for the teaching of the technical aspects of the game of chess to the children.
So far, the children seem quite enthusiastic about the prospect of playing the game and we are encouraged by their level of participation.
“We are grateful for the lessons plans shared with us by the Social Action Commission to assist us in the delivery of the chess training programme.”
To date, four sessions have been conducted and all players have been taught how all the pieces move and capture. They were also introduced to check and checkmate.
We are planning to have a mini internal tournament later in the year so as to give the participants an opportunity to practice what they have learnt.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
VALKYRIES CHESS CLUB
CHESS OUTREACH PROGRAM 2015: SOPHIA HOUSE FOR GIRLS
Valkyries Chess Club is a club whose primary mandate is to develop chess for girls and women in Trinidad and Tobago.
In their last Annual General Meeting, the newly elected Executive agreed for the club’s focus to be directed towards social responsibility type activities instead of just the traditional club activities e.g. running of tournaments.
In keeping with this renewed focus, a suggestion was made to venture into introducing chess to disadvantaged girls within our society. Our first target group would be Sophia House for Girls.
ABOUT SOPHIA HOUSE
Sophia House which was opened in 2004 offers temporary emergency as well as long-term accommodation to young girls at risk. It aims is to provide them with economic alternatives to life on the streets and/or in prostitution. To this end Sophia House’s programmes are designed to facilitate education, training and all round development; to empower the family and to facilitate family reintegration where possible.
Sophia House is part of the Credo Foundation for Justice whose focus lies in social justice for young boys and girls at risk.
Additional information on the Credo Foundation be found at http://www.credofj.com/
DEMOGRAPHIC OF GIRLS AT SOPHIA HOUSE
Sophia House currently accommodates 14 girls whose ages range from 13 through 17. The average age of the girls is 15.
All of these girls currently attend school, but feedback, obtained from their teachers, suggests that most of them are academically challenged.
Also many of the girls would have experienced some level of abuse during the course of their life time. Therefore there will be self-esteem and other issues that would be faced. Fortunately there are ongoing counseling programs at the house.
It is in this context that Valkyries is desirous of embarking upon a program to deliver chess to the girls at Sophia House. Summary details of the program are as follows:
Primary Objective: To expose the girls at Sophia House to the game of chess, which has been proven to provide several benefits both personally and academically.
Initial Period: 10 weeks
Frequency: Once a week- Initially Mondays
Length of sessions: 1-1 ½ hours per week.
Venue: Training Room at Sophia House
No. of girls: 14
Given the sensitivity of the circumstances at the home, it is recommended that the chess
training sessions be conducted by girls or women. In this regard, the following persons have been earmarked to provide the training:
- WCM Gabriella Johnson-FIDE ID: 7701128
– Current Joint National Women’s Champion
– Current National Under 16 Female Champion and runner up Under Female Junior Champion
– Member of Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s Olympiad Teams 2010, 2012, 2014
– Past CAC Under 12 Silver Medallist
– Past Carifta Under 12 Silver Medallist
- Della Marie-Walcott-FIDE ID: 7701608
– Joint runner up National Under 14 Champion and Past National Under 14 Champion
– Member of Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s Olympiad Team 2012, 2014
– Past CAC Under 10 Gold Medallist
– Past Carifta Under 12 Gold Medallist
- Sonja Johnson- President, Valkyries Club
- Debra Walcott- Secretary, Valkyries Club
To successfully deliver this programme at Sophia House, Valkyries Chess Club seeks the
- Training of lead and support trainers to equip them with the skills to effectively
deliver the proposed chess program
- The expertise of a Women’s Chess Master to deliver session at least once monthly.
- Training materials including any appropriate software
- Demo Boards
- Chess Sets and chess boards
- Multi-media projector, to facilitate digital sessions.
POTENTIAL EXPANSION OF PROGRAMME
It is envisaged, that this programme can be replicated to other homes within the foundation as well as to other girls’ homes.
The Executive of Valkyries Chess Club is very excited about this new venture to further
develop chess among girls in Trinidad and Tobago.
This program is fully aligned to the mandate and scope of the Social Action Commission and we look forward to their support in delivery of a much needed and successful intervention.
Photo Courtesy Valkyries Chess Club.