LUSAKA mayor Levy Mkandawire has urged education authorities to incorporate chess into the school curriculum.
Mkandawire observed that chess had always been associated with academic excellence and for that reason a number of countries had the sport incorporated into their education curriculum.
"Chess continues to play a significant part in our academic development. In other countries, chess has been incorporated into the education curriculum and I remember that while at school, we had physical education as a compulsory aspect of our education.
"Whilst not really advocating the making of chess compulsory, I urge administrators to look into incorporating it as a viable and attractive element at a certain stage in our children's education," he said.
Speaking when he officiated at the opening ceremony of the Africa Junior Chess Championship at Chrismar Hotel on Tuesday night, the mayor urged the participants to sample the tourism spots the city of Lusaka had to offer.
Mkwandawire said during the six days of the tournament, the players could find free time to spend at some significant landmarks in the capital city to take back some of the Zambian heritage.
He said there were many sites which would give the visitors a welcome diversion from the vigorous hours on the chess board, mentioning some historical parts like the Freedom Statue and the Lusaka National Museum.
Speaking earlier, Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ) general secretary Dick Mpheneka said Zambia was proud to host a tournament of the Africa Junior championships magnitude.
Mpheneka said with so many countries participating, the event would still retain its competitiveness but warned the players that at the end of the tournament, only the sport of chess would be regarded as the final winner.
He hoped that from the participating Zambian contingent, another prodigy would be a revelation to take the steps of United States (US) based International Master Amon Simutowe, who is a former African junior champion.