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Chess in Cuba - The Universal Language

By John Brezina – Parker Chess Club


I had the good fortune to visit Havana Cuba in May of 2017. Part of our visit included donating school supplies and other items to an elementary school in Centro Habana. Chess sets and boards donated by the Saint Louis Chess Club generated the most excitement by far. The children gravitated to the chess sets and were very eager to play. Their teachers and principal set aside a short time for our visit and made us feel quite welcome.



They quickly set up one of the boards and ushered me in to play one of the young boys, who knew and played the game quite well. They knew no English and I very little Spanish, yet we seemed to communicate over the board with ease, even analyzing our game. The universal language of chess is amazing and a great bridge between cultures. I have met people from all around the globe through the royal game, a blessing indeed. They all wanted to continue to play but our short time was up. We left the school with a great appreciation for the teachers and children, and a hope that one of these young kids may someday grow up to be the next Capablanca.