From the streets of Kubwa to the global chess scene: Ivie Urieto’s pursuit of social change

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Credit: chess.com

In Kubwa, a bustling suburb outside Nigeria‘s capital, Abuja, an exceptional eight-year-old girl is making waves. Ivie Urieto, a chess prodigy, is striving to leverage her extraordinary skills to instigate social change through the ancient board game.

Since she began playing chess at the age of four, Urieto has won 11 medals from various local and online chess competitions. Her talent is indisputable, and her ambitions are sky-high. The young prodigy aims to earn the prestigious title of Grandmaster by the time she reaches 15, an aspiration that places her in the league of the world’s top chess players.

However, Urieto’s ambitions extend beyond her personal goals and achievements. Her passion for chess is imbued with a deep desire to make a difference in her community and the world at large. She envisions chess as a positive distraction for children, an escape from the harsh realities they may face in their everyday lives.

In her role as an ambassador for “The Gift of Chess”, a U.S.-based foundation, Urieto is on a mission to share the benefits of chess with the youth of her community. She regularly visits local schools and orphanages, distributing chess boards and teaching children how to play the game.

“I go around giving chess because I want people to learn how to play so that there will not be crime in the world,” the young ambassador shared with a firm resolve that belies her tender years.

“The Gift of Chess”, financed by generous donors, has set an audacious goal to distribute one million chess sets globally by the year 2030. Through the efforts of ambassadors like Urieto, the foundation is steadily marching towards its target.

Urieto’s influence has already begun to invigorate local schools. Teacher Uzoamaka Uzouku noted that the prodigy’s involvement has revitalised the existing chess clubs. “Before her arrival, we already have a chess club but her coming boosted it. Many children have joined,” Uzouku said.

In a world where most eight-year-olds are focused on their immediate surroundings, Ivie Urieto’s vision reaches far beyond the confines of her suburban home in Kubwa. Through chess, she aims to change the world, one move at a time. Her story serves as a potent reminder that age is no barrier to social activism and change, and even the humble chessboard can be a tool for revolution.

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