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Chess Club for Children and Youth: Checkmate for Boredom in Vienna

Pieces are fought on the board. If you want to win here you have to think strategically. In the Chess Club for Children and Youth in Vienna, the little ones play the game of kings with a lot of fun.

Vienna. The game of kings – to be more precise – was already being played in the late Sasanian Empire. Pawn, rook, horse, bishop, queen and king: Today, 16 pieces are deftly moved across the 64 squares of the court by the children and young adults of the KJSV chess club.

President Joachim Wallner, the nation’s foremost chess champion, has made it his mission to pass on the fun and magic of the game and sport to children as young as four. And so he wants to train children’s chess skills through innovative training. “We founded the club in 2018 because many children did not have training opportunities after the school chess project,” said Chairman Wallner. What started as an idea with just a few kids is now a non-profit organization with 112 kids.

Motivated training

The training methodology adapts to the regimen of the participants. “While playing, children become calm and focused, learn to think about the future and strengthen their cognitive abilities,” says Wallner. What looks dry is a lot of fun for kids. “Chess can also be fun when we play different shapes, like eating chess, soccer, or tandem chess,” trainer Selina reveals. The rules are quickly reversed and you must reach certain fields or offer your own pieces to the opponent to hit them.

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For many children, the impulse to hit their parents is the main reason they start playing. Moritz, aged twelve, learned the game from his father. He trains every day and is considered an above average player with around 1300 Elo points – indicating strength of play. “I have a knack for thinking, I’m calm and I can focus,” Moritz says. A fact that probably also had an effect on his school performance, since he only got very good grades.

State Chess Champion at the age of eight

At the age of eight, Avni is already the state champion in U8 and has five chess sets at home that she practices every day. The youngest members of the club get acquainted with the game characters and practice their first tactical moves using the club workbook. No wonder the club plays in the first women’s Bundesliga and in the top division for adults.

Coach Selina takes care of the little ones with fun chess variants and tactical tasks.  |  Photo: Sabine Kramer

Whether children, young people, coaches or the chairman of the board: you can see in the faces and in the diverse activities that chess gives positive motivation to every new day, that the challenge is seen as an opportunity and that the game is a passion that brings a lot of fun.

Down to work

The association organizes open tournaments in the district office in the new building, a chess picnic in the Danube Park, chess excursions or a chess cinema evening. If you wish to participate, you can simply come to the training evening. The game is played in the rooms of Bridgeclub West at L├╝tzowgasse 12-14 in the 14th district. KJSV can be reached at 0676/354 02 94 or by email at kjsv.wien@gmail.com. Training takes place every Thursday from 5 to 7 pm.

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