Four-time women’s world chess champion, Hou Yifan, will visit the Cayman Islands this week to support the islands’ school chess program.
Ms. Hou, 24, who is the strongest active female chess player in the world and number 89 overall, will take on 30 players simultaneously in the “Grandmaster Corporate Challenge” fundraiser on Tuesday.
Event sponsors, including Ogier, BDO and Dart’s Minds Inspired will enter challengers to take on the champion at a venue to be announced.
A similar event for children will be held on Monday afternoon at the George Town Public Library.
The Grandmaster Challenge events are in aid of the Chess in Schools program, which has just completed its first year of teaching chess to 600 children in the public schools.
The program is taught by Anzel Laubscher, who is a former South African women’s champion and coach of the South African national junior squads.
Ms. Laubscher said teaching chess to children helps them excel in other areas of the curriculum. She said the youngsters enjoy the program and learn valuable skills, including concentration and strategy.
The students also take part in regular tournaments, and some have traveled to Jamaica to compete internationally.
Shaun Tracey, who founded the Cayman Chess Association, said in a press release that next week’s event would help fund the program for another year.
“Feedback from parents and teachers has been extremely positive, and the schools want to continue the program next year,” he added.
Ms. Hou was a child chess prodigy who competed in her first world championship at age 12 and became the youngest ever women’s world champion in 2010, at the age of 16. She has held the women’s world title on three subsequent occasions.