Dwight Vincent

Dwight Vincent

Chess. It’s one of the world’s oldest board games, and still one of the most popular.

Through workshops, competitions, and summer camps, UWinnipeg professor Dwight Vincent champions this ancient pastime, helping to keep the game alive and minds active. Some people still think of chess as a game for the older generation, but Vincent points out that chess is a pastime that cuts across generations, and is increasingly important to educators.

“In Ontario, some schools start introducing chess as young as kindergarten,” says Vincent. As soon as they are able to manipulate the pieces and understand the basic moves, any child can play, says Vincent. For promoters of the game, chess is about more than entertainment; it’s an important teaching tool. “Chess introduces constructive concentration, deduction, and planning techniques,” says Vincent. It also adds important lessons on cause and effect, teaching us to pay closer attention to the results of our actions. “It’s very immediate,” says Vincent. “You make a choice and you see the outcome.”

Vincent has served on the Manitoba Chess Association Board of Directors for the past four years, and acts as its junior coordinator. In 2005, Vincent was a key organizer in developing a summer chess program for inner-city youth, which evolved into a regular chess program for youth at The University of Winnipeg’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre on Ellice Avenue the following year.

Vincent’s nominators write that he has worked tirelessly to ensure that chess is accessible to any member of the community with an interest, and not an elite parlour game available only to a limited segment of the population.

“All it takes is a chessboard,” Vincent points out. “It’s not like hockey, where equipment can run into the hundreds of dollars. You can get a chessboard for under $20. Anyone can play, really.”

Vincent also vigorously promotes chess among the province’s youth by taking an active role in the Manitoba Scholastic Chess Association, often volunteering to accompany the top student players to national events. Innovation is also part of his strategy. To engage the imagination of young players, Vincent promoted the purchase of a giant chess set for the Manitoba Chess Association, which adds an element of fun and drama as kids move the super-size pieces around the board at events and gatherings.

“The Manitoba Chess Association is deeply indebted to Dr. Vincent for his contributions to the chess community,” writes its president, Blair Rutter, calling Vincent a “driving force” in his efforts to promote the game.

Today, The University of Winnipeg is proud to present Dr. Dwight Vincent with the Clarence Atchison Award for Excellence in Community Service for his tireless efforts in the service of community recreation and public education.