Chess with tansan pawns
WITH tansans (bottle caps) as chess pieces and cardboard sheets, Cebu City children learn to play chess for free.
In six months, 43,000 kids were playing the board game.
The cost? A transportation allowance for volunteer coaches from City Hall, bread snacks donated by Julie’s Bakeshop and canned goods from Virginia Foods.
It started with volunteers from the Cebu Chess Federation going around schools in all 16 districts of Cebu City to teach chess basics to physical education teachers and school coordinators.
They were taught how to play as well as coach and arbitrate.
After two months, the volunteers started teaching schoolkids.
Sports Commissioner Eduard Hayco said they couldn’t have pulled off the chess program without the help of the Department of Education (DepEd).
DepEd Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud issued a memo to include chess in the PE curriculum in all schools.
Volunteer teachers learned from each other in solving problems such as the lack of volunteer teachers and chess sets.
From this was adapted the strategy of letting the best of the students teach others. Another brainstorm was the idea of making their own chessboards and chess pieces as school projects.
A simple cardboard sheet became a chess board. Bottle caps became knights and rooks.
Hayco said he used the same principle of volunteerism which brought dancesports to the barangays.
“Twelve years ago, Mayor Tom (Osmeña) gave a direction to me to bring the elegance of dancesports to the barangays as a means of transforming the kids in a positive way, and that a grassroots approach was also a more effective way of discovering good athletes,” Hayco said.
Hayco also gave the Philippine Sports Commission food for thought in his speech when he said they don’t need a Class A coach to teach.
“If you classify coaches by A, B, C, D with A being the best, you can have the C and D coach to teach the beginners and the B coach for those who have potential and the A coach for the prime team.”/Correspondent Mars G. Alison