The Philippines has participated in chess tournaments for over 66 years now, as chess has been a longtime sport and skill that many Filipinos have grown to learn and love. However, over the past few years, the spotlight on chess has declined with many of today’s youth preferring online games.
This inspired Theodore Abara, 15, to establish Knights Build Organization (KBO), a nonprofit organization that aims to help his fellow Filipino youth build their adaptability, logical thinking and creativity through chess.
“One of the reasons I founded Knights Build was to provide an alternative form of entertainment for the youth that actually helps them perform better in school, improve their logical thinking skills and pattern recognition, and teaches them important life skills: creativity, patience, perseverance in solving problems and challenges,” he said.
Abara was a scholar at Philippine Science High School prior to his being awarded the prestigious Vicky Sycip Herrera Scholarship at International School Manila (ISM), where he is now a Grade 10 student. He has represented the country and won several competitions as part of the Philippine math team.
There have been studies from countries like China, Amsterdam, Venezuela and India that show how chess develops the player’s ability to see from someone else’s perspective, improves memory, elevates creativity, strengthens planning skills, practices logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Knowing all the benefits learning chess can offer to his fellow youth, Abara has passionately served through KBO since 2020.
KBO focuses on helping underprivileged youth who do not have the necessary exposure and access to chess.
The NGO now has a world-class and highly experienced KBO program head in coach Sonny Labayne, who taught the chess team at ISM for over 15 years.
Universities that offer scholarships for chess include Ateneo de Manila University, the University of Santo Tomas and the University of the Philippines.
KBO commits to providing free chess education and training scholarships to at least a thousand underprivileged kids before the end of 2022.
Follow @knightsbuild on Facebook and Instagram.