The Chess Academy and Mentoring Center began in the slums of Kampala, Uganda when SOM soccer coach, Robert Katende, noticed children watching from the sidelines of soccer matches he had organized. Robert started with only five children and now has over 300 who gather daily across five separate slum locations. Though chess is what maybe attracted them first, they also have Bible study, mentoring and a meal during their time in addition to practicing chess with over 40 peer coaches supporting and mentoring them as well.
Robert found that chess was much like their everyday life, it teaches them how to strategize, plan ahead, instill discipline in their lives, patience, and watching from all angles. Now the chess program has spread to Gulu, Nairobi, El Salvador and the US including programs for handicapped students in Nairobi and inner-city in the US. Currently, the chess ministry has over 1400 participants.