An art, a struggle, a science, a war - Nicosia

“Chess is an art, a struggle, a science, a war!"

Hello everybody,

We hear all the time of football, karate, swimming lessons for our kid’s physical development. But what about developing their brain? Does the brain need any “sport” activity in order to improve his performances?

Would you prefer seeing your kids spending hours in front of the TV or having a queen and a king as his friends and spending nice afternoons studying the world of chess?
I believe that we should always search for the right activity that catch their attention, find the one that they would prefer as hobby or why not give them also a chance to win a beautiful life doing what they love…

Russian Newspaper Vestnik Kypra tournament for kids

I love to introduce you the world of chess: tournaments, lessons, hard work and pleasure; we will all discover this trough the President of the Nicosia Chess Club, Mr. Vrahimis Boulos.
We asked Mr. Vrahimis Boulos some questions:

Izzy: I am very happy introducing to my readers Mr. Vrahimis Boulos, President of Nicosia Chess Club. I would like to know more about you, how and when you discover chess?


First of all I would like to congratulate you for the great work that you are doing through your website and also to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about chess in Cyprus and in general.

I was introduced in chess 10 years ago by a friend. He brought a chess-set in a cafeteria and he wanted to teach me so he could play with someone. As soon as I learned how to move the pieces I immediately loved the game. I came home the same night and started searching for more information about chess in the internet. I made an internet account in a chess site, and I was so obsessed that I would play almost all the time when I was free. Then I moved on and I bought some books and I started reading. You know, a big part of chess is theory. It is like a study. You have to read and read and learn and the more you learn the more you want to explore. It is endless. A few months later I discovered the Nicosia Chess Club and became a member. 2 years later I was elected the president of the club, as I guess I was the most active member and wanted to offer so much. Today I am also the vice president of the Cyprus Chess Federation. The Federation and all the chess clubs in Cyprus in all cities are non-profitable organizations and all the volunteer members work mainly for one purpose and that is to promote chess for all ages all over Cyprus.

Izzy: What are the rewards and challenges as a President of a Chess Club in Cyprus?


The reward is that you get to meet great people from chess. Especially now that is becoming more and more popular in Cyprus. The challenges are much more though. As a president of a club it is your responsibility to run open tournaments, championships, tournaments for kids etc. At the same time we run academies all over Nicosia and are also again our responsibility to spot and identify talented kids in order to show them the way to success.

 World chess Olympiad 2012 Playing Hall

Izzy: I believe that chess could be a fascinating world for children. What age is the best to start learning playing chess and how to could keep them motivated?


My answer cannot be just a single number. Most of the students of our academy start at the age of 7. Every year we have some exceptional children that start at 6. The biggest issue with the child’s age is the child’s ability to concentrate during the lesson.

Izzy: Lots of the studies showed that chess could help children by improving their critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving ability, improved patience and focus, greater self confidence. Do you believe that all this is true? What did you notice in your personal experience?

Nicosia Chess Open 2013


I believe it’s true, because many university researchers have shown it to be true. I believe in scientific truth. It’s best to ask our children’s parents whether such an improvement took place, since we don’t observe the children in their school performance.

Izzy: Are kids interested today in playing chess or we should first convince the parents to introduce this game to them?

Cyprus Youth Championship 2013 under 18


Some parents contact us saying that their child is obsessed with chess and they want them to learn it the correct way. Other parents are convinced that chess is good for their child and want their child to start playing.
So my answer here is that both the kids and the parents should be introduced to the wonderful game of chess

Izzy: Do you believe that there could be a community of children players. Coming at the club, spending time together could improve their social life and later on give them a better way of spending more quality time?


I believe that what you described as part of your question is the ideal situation. We are aiming towards that target. For this reason, we are trying to bring the children closer, to a more relaxed environment, like in a cafeteria playing chess. Usually chess tournaments are little stressful for the competitive children. Many parents exchange phone numbers and meet on their own time with their children for chess or for just some other activities.

Cyprus Youth Championship 2013 under 18

Izzy: We all know that competition are challenging and give us beautiful targets. There are lots of competition for the kids and what age you should be in order to participate.


In all of the chess tournaments for children, we divide the children in age categories. So we will have groups of Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18. So a child will play with children his/her age. This is an international practice. The most important competitions held in Nicosia, in my opinion, are the tournament organized by Nicosia Municipality (around February); the tournament organized for Tournoua Filias by SPE Strovolou (around March) and the Nicosia District Games (around May). Our websites (official + Facebook) have information about these tournaments.

Cyprus Delegation in the European Team Chess Championship Chalkidiki 2011

Izzy: One last question. Do you have any beautiful story to tell us?


Through chess, I had the opportunity to travel with the Cypriot national team and participate in the last European Team Chess Championship that took place in Halkidiki Greece as well as the last Olympiad that took place in Istanbul. In those events, not only you get to see elite chess players from around the world but you also get to meet most of them. It is always nice to live in the same hotel, eat in the same place, and play in the same hall with word legends.

I challenge every reader that never tried chess to go ahead and try it. I also challenge all parents to give at least one time the opportunity to their kids to get in touch with the chess. The Cyprus Chess Federation is running chess academies for kids all over Cyprus through its member clubs.

Once you get into chess and understand what all is about, it is really hard to escape.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity that you have provided to me to speak about our world of chess! God bless

Cyprus delegation in the World Chess Olympiad - 2012 Istambul

Izzy: Thank you very much Mr. Vrahimis Boulos for your interesting ideas and for your work that bring adults and children in the wonderful chess world.

Thank you very much for your time,
Lots of sunny days from Izzy the Cypriot Lizard!

Nicosia Chess Club
ΜΕΓΑΡΟ ΠΑ.ΣΥ.Δ.Υ Λευκωσία 4ος όροφος,
PA.SY.DY BUILDING Nicosia, 4th floor, Nicosia, Cyprus
Phone: 00357 99 877 575
             00357 96 449696
Web page: (Cyprus Chess Federation on Facebook)
Lessons hours and days:
Fridays at 4:00 or at 5:30 (lessons are 1 hour + 15 min long)
Courses prices: 40 euro/month

Did you know the benefits of playing chess?

-          By the time the students had spent about 60 hours on their chosen activities, the chess players were well ahead of the others in several psychological tests, scoring almost 13 percentage points higher in critical thinking and 35 percentage points higher in creative thinking.
-          A study of 4,000 Venezuelan students produced significant rises in the IQ scores of both boys and girls after 4 months of chess instruction.
-          One four-year study had students from grades 7 to 9 play chess, use computers, or do other activities once a week for 32 weeks to see which activity fostered the most growth in creative thinking. The chess group scored higher in all measures of creativity, with originality being their biggest area of gain.
-          In a two-year study in 1985, young students who were given regular opportunities to play chess improved their grades in all subjects, and their teachers noticed better memory and better organizational skills in the kids. A similar study of Pennsylvania sixth-graders found similar results. Students who had never before played chess improved their memories and verbal skills after playing.
-          It improves reading skills - In an oft-cited 1991 study, Dr. Stuart Margulies studied the reading performance of 53 elementary school students who participated in a chess program and evaluated them compared to non-chess-playing students in the district and around the country. He found definitive results that playing chess caused increased performance in reading.
-          It improves concentration - Numerous studies of students in the U.S., Russia, China, and elsewhere have proven time and again that young people's ability to focus is sharpened with chess.
-          10. It teaches planning and foresight
-         Having teenagers play chess might just save their lives. It goes like this: one of the last parts of the brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for planning, judgment, and self-control. So adolescents are scientifically immature until this part develops. Strategy games like chess can promote prefrontal cortex development and help them make better decisions in all areas of life, perhaps keeping them from making a stupid, risky choice of the kind associated with being a teenager.