Young Minds

Kotov Rodwell Makoto-Zimbabwe national chess champ Interview

Many people don’t consider Chess as part of sports, but Rodwell Makoto at the age 25 is changing all of that.  He is inspiring young people out there to play Chess. In this interview he talks about the door chess has opened for him, his achievements and his dreams.

Please tell us about yourself, who is Kotov Rodwell Makoto?
Actually my name its just Rodwell Makoto .Kotov came from removing Ma and adding a V from Makoto so that it can sound Russian. I was born 25 years ago in a family of 1 child.

Who did you look up to growing up?
I didn’t look up to anyone specific, but anyone who was good in chess I wanted to be like them.

What inspired you to start playing chess?
It was the only sport I could play better

Outside recreation, what are some of the benefits of playing chess?
It helps with concentration, it enhance your memory and creativity. Studies have proven that kids who play chess perfoms better in school than those who don’t.

In 2011 you were the Zimbabwe Chess Federation Chess Tournament ZIM National Champion what did winning an award of this stature mean to you?
To win this title it’s amazing and also an honour to be in a hall of fame amongst the great predecessors of Zimbabwe and the future ones.

As a renowned chess player in Zimbabwe what opportunities has playing chess opened for you?
To travel around the world and meeting new people

What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
Winning South African open ahead of top players last year 2012. Being a 3rd sports man of the Year 2012. Zimbabwe national champ three times and coming 4th placed in African Chess Champs 2011.


Are you involved in any youth outreach programmes that aim at encouraging the youth to play chess?
I coach chess in schools round Randburg area and Boskop primary school in Honeydew and sometimes I teach in Alex on their sports festive day.

Are there any key tournaments you are looking to participating in soon?
Capablanca memorial tournament in Pretoria next week and in May I’m looking forward to take part in African individuals in Tunisa.

What do you think are the challenges facing African youth today and what do you think are some of the solutions to addressing them?
In Africa we have to fight against Economical hardships, poverty, AIDS and crime these kind of challenges do hinder youth to progress or to succed in whatever they are doing

In Zimbabwe are there people that young people who would like to learn to play chess can be part of? Particularly those who don’t have chess clubs in their schools?
Yes there is, they can go to Glen Norah Chess Academy which opened recenetly they are now situated in city centre of Harare.

What is your dream for Africa?
Chess wise I want an African World Champion and in general I want us to be free from tribal and civil wars.

Outside chess are you involved in any activities (work, studies etc)?
I’m studying Computer Science at university of South Africa

How can the youth connect with you?
They can contact me on my cell number 0791082830 or email to

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