The 1st Inter-Centre Chess Tournament was recently held in Mojácar, with young players from the town’s Rey Alabez and Bartolomé Flores Schools competing.
It was organized by the Language Adaptation ATAL organisation, who worked in collaboration with both schools on the event and saw the maximum of 32 players taking part, with more lined up as reserves.
Lots were drawn to pair off the young participants, with Álvaro González and Carlos García-Alix coming through as winners on the day. It was a tough final that showed a high level of play and strategy, although in truth, the real success was achieved by the integration of the Spanish children with those from different countries.
Learning to play chess can benefit a child’s development as it helps mental skills and assists in their studies generally, but it has an even
more important role in these two schools which have over twenty different nationalities studying together.
Ana Jiménez Lagos, a teacher in the ATAL group, has added chess to her timetable of activities as a very valuable tool to help students from other countries to integrate and break down language barriers by making friends and socializing, which she knows can sometimes be a difficult issue.
The three year school programme is free and includes over 40 students from almost every country around the world and, will soon be
available in Vera and Garrucha, towns which are also now enrolling children whose first language is not Spanish.
ATAL’s work is important in the development of coexistence and respect, as well as in generally overcoming the challenges children face in language and culture and, as part of the Día de Andalucía celebrations the sterling work of Ana Jiménez Lago is being recognised by the regional government.