Sudan will play chess game against religious radicals

Sudanese authorities will start training chess in the country’s kindergartens and schools in September. Arrangements were made on this score between Sudan government and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. One of the goals of the new project is prevention of religious radicalism in the youth Muslim milieu.
FIDE President arrived in Sudan from Tunis in the morning of January 23. "During the talks with Minister of Youth and Sports Dr Abdul Karim Musa, we discussed the project of building a national chess academy in Khartoum," Ilyumzhinov told NG. "Country's leadership showed interest in this and a plot of land is allocated in the heart of the city – in the new stadium. It’s a pleasant place close to the Nile. The Academy's construction project involves building of a modern tournament hall suited to host prestigious international competitions."

Following the meeting with the Minister of Education of Sudan Abdel-Hafiz Al-Sadiq, Ilyumzhinov agreed on the introduction of a special programme for teaching chess in the country’s kindergartens and schools starting in September 2018. "Sudanese will start teaching children of 5 years old. First, they will design a pilot project and test it at several educational institutions. But the principal decision on the national programme has already been made and it was approved by Minister Al-Sadiq. A special training chess seminar will gather school principals from all 19 provinces of the country in Khartoum in February. We agreed that I would come and deliver a speech," Ilyumzhinov said.
In the near future, courses on teaching chess trainers and teachers will be held at the African University in Khartoum, where about 20,000 students from the countries of the Dark Continent are studying. It is assumed that first these courses will prepare chess mentors for Sudan and then for the rest of African states.
The interest of Sudanese authorities in the chess project for children and youth is linked, among other things, to the need to create an "emotional and intellectual alternative" to preachers and recruiters from the radical religious organizations. "Sudan is an Islamic country and it faces threats from radicals as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (banned in Russia)," political expert Sergey Krotov said. "Practice shows that, basically, recruiters of religious extremists aim at young people, trying to attract them into their ranks. And to prevent this, it is necessary to entice the young generation of Muslims with various positive projects. Chess can be one of them."
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov believes that Sudan can become a centre of chess influence for the whole region: "Already today, this country unites around itself 9 neighboring African states. Sudan is a very promising regional political heavyweight and this relates to chess too."
It is worth mentioning that Sudanese President Omar Bashir met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi in November 2017. According to the media, Sudanese leader spoke about the need to "protect against the aggressive US policy", and also expressed his readiness to provide Sudanese territory for construction of a Russian naval base on the Red Sea.