Inaugural Chess Tournament Hosted by WIZO Nir Haemek
Children as young as 9 years old, received awards, trophies, and medals for their excellence in the game which promotes healthy life skills, such as respect, competition, and planning ahead. WIZO's chess program is the brainchild of Tova Ben Dov, World WIZO's president. Tova's husband Shabtai honoured Tova on her birthday, by providing the initial funds for chess instruction in all of WIZO's youth villages. Subsequent birthday gifts were all directed to support the newly inducted chess program. Kol Hakavod to first place winner WIZO Hadassim and to WIZO Nir Haemek who came in at second place. Special guest appearance by Sofia Polgar, Chess Grandmaster highlighted the event.
Zipi Amiri Chairperson Publicity and Communications Division and Esther Mor, Chairperson World WIZO Fundraising Division represented World WIZO Executive. Former youth village director Yossi Goshen, the current acting Mayor of Afula, Boris Yudis Deputy Mayor along with Moshe Slav chairperson of the Israeli Chess Association were on hand to enjoy the festivities. The Israeli Chess Association pledged its ongoing assistance in providing game boards and all needed equipment.
Fourteen year old Nastia, a grade 8 student at WIZO Nir Haemek and new immigrant from the Ukraine, reached first place for youth in her age group. Nastia, described her life in the dormitory as being filled with caring and support. Her love of animals drew her to Nir Haemek, and now along with being a budding piano player, she has added chess to her list of accomplishments. Nastia plans to join the police cadet program at Nir Haemek, serve in the IDF and become a veterinarian.
Tova Ben Dov proudly expressed her gratitude to the children and to the staff of WIZO's youth villages, for their commitment and success in reaching outstanding results. Tova said, "the children are my real gift".
Although this tournament was the first, WIZO plans to hold annual youth village tournaments, each year at a different youth villages. The children were all smiles as they left the auditorium, proudly holding their medals, trophies and certificates.
*צילום- גדי לוי ויצו ניר העמק, משה ביטמן אגף החינוך