The 3rd Inter-School Chess Tournament was recently has held in Mojacar, bringing together the town’s young primary and secondary schools players, along with their counterparts from Turre, Vera, Carboneras and Garrucha.
35 players from 20 different countries gathered at the Rey Alabez School to play in the tournament’s two leagues, with a splendid chess set as a prize for the winner of each, as well as an additional set offered as a raffle prize and, diplomas for all participants.
This year, the champions were Wentao from IES Mediterráneo and Diego from IES Rey Alabez, although everyone was a winner in the end at the fun morning of sporting efforts, followed by a lunch together with their instructors.
Over five years ago, ATAL, which develops classes of linguistic adaptation, started bringing together young chess players, with an emphasis on welcoming immigrant students and promoting intercultural education along with the teaching of Spanish language.
Ana Jiménez Lagos is an ATAL teacher at Mojácar Institute and, the ‘alma mater’ for the team of teachers that has been created across the region’s centres. She pointed out that the true objective of this tournament was the promotion of coexistence, integration and inclusion as, at the beginning of the course, many children have limited or no Spanish language skills Without friends and the means of communicating outside of their home environment and culture, integration is almost impossible for them at first.
All are welcomed with open arms, however, overcoming shyness, nerves or any other impairment in these chess classes where everyone is equal when playing this strategic game. It is also an ideal way for the local children to meet up with these new students and very soon, friendships are made, whilst advantageously developing mental skills that help with many school disciplines, especially mathematics.
The Chess Tournament brings the classes to an end and the start of poetry sessions with the study of the Alhambra which they will visit later on a guided tour. Ana Jiménez and her team are accomplishing a remarkable service to the communities, efforts which are well rewarded when these often vulnerable young people embark enthusiastically on a new adventure in life along with their new found classmates.