Olympic champion and Honored Master of Sports of Ukraine, Natalia Zhukova, organized a grand chess tournament at the Chornomorets stadium in Odesa on July 16. The event, dedicated to International Chess Day celebrated worldwide on July 20, aimed to popularize the game among children and showcase its numerous benefits.
Promoting Chess and Developing Young Minds
100 children participated in this exciting tournament. Natalia Zhukova, a member of the Odesa City Council, expressed her delight at the opportunity to “give the stadium stands much-missed spectators.” Amidst the challenging times, this event brought joy and excitement to both the young participants and the audience.
From the moment the registration was announced, Natalia Zhukova wondered if there would be enough interest from children to fill the tournament. However, to her pleasant surprise, the list of participants was closed within just three days, showcasing the immense enthusiasm and eagerness among the young chess enthusiasts.
Inspiring Confidence and Strategic Thinking
Natalia Zhukova emphasized the significance of chess in developing strategic and logical thinking in children.
“In chess, you are alone at the board. And even children who are used to looking up to their parents become more confident at the board. Again, being able to calculate two or three steps ahead is a very important skill,” said Natalia Zhukova.
“The number of children participating in such events shows that children need it. That is why it is very important to support this enthusiasm in young athletes,” she added.
Natalia Zhukova, a highly accomplished grandmaster herself, holds an impressive record in the world of chess. She has secured multiple accolades, including being a two-time European champion and the 2019 Ukrainian champion. Her rating as of June 2023 stands at 2324, placing her among the top players globally.
Beyond her chess achievements, Natalia Zhukova has received state honors, including the prestigious Order of Princess Olga. The Order recognizes her significant personal contributions to the development of the Ukrainian state and the promotion of its socio-economic, scientific, technical, cultural, and educational sectors. Furthermore, her victory at the 37th World Chess Olympiad brought immense pride and international recognition to Ukraine.
The chess tournament organized by Natalia Zhukova served as a powerful platform to encourage young minds to explore the world of chess. It showcased the game’s ability to instill confidence, foster strategic thinking, and nurture independent decision-making skills in children. By hosting such an event, Natalia Zhukova reinforced the importance of chess as a tool for personal growth and development, making a great impression on the young participants and the spectators alike.