Knights of the South Bronx – in Durban

by ChessBase
8/30/2007 – David MacEnulty is an inner-city teacher whose work with children in New York inspired the Ted Danson film Knights of the South Bronx. For David chess is a set of mind skills that enables children to face challenges they will encounter in their lives. Recently he visited Durban in South Africa, where the Durban Metro Chess Academy is teaching children to Push Pawns, Not Drugs!

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David MacEnulty in Durban

By Desmond Rooplal (event coordinator of Mr MacEnulty’s Durban trip)

David MacEnulty, the man whose work with children in a New York school in the South Bronx inspired Arts and Entertainment to produce the movie Knights of the South Bronx, which starred Ted Danson.

Ted Danson starred in the inspiring true story of inner-city English teacher David MacEnulty, a true story of heroism and inspiration. The movie depicts one man’s struggle to better the lives of underprivileged children from the South Bronx. By teaching these children chess, he transforms their lives and the lives of thousands of other kids, their families, and their neighborhoods. A&E Network co-produced the film with Fox Television Studios (FtvS).

In Knights of the South Bronx David MacEnulty strenuously argued that chess was not just a game but a set of mind skills that would enable children to face challenges they would encounter in their lives. They not only learned the art of competition, but triumphed by beating private school teams across the entire country.

On the 9 of August 2007, the real-life David MacEnulty arrived in Durban to promote the Chess for Change programme, initiated by former Durbanite, David Berman; founder of New York based hedge fund Durban Capital.

David MacEnulty (right) with his biggest fan – event coordinator Desmond Rooplal

In his short, but very intense stay in Durban, MacEnulty helped us (DMCA – Durban Metro Chess Academy) promote chess and the benefits of playing chess towards education and society as a whole. He gave talks to parents, school principals, teachers and children at schools that where similar to those in Knights of the South Bronx.

DMCA’s motto: Push Pawns! Not Drugs! DMCA strives to develop chess in Durban and the surrounding disadvantaged areas.

South Africa – as seen on Google Earth

David also did a six hour training workshop with DMCA members – where he showed them how to relate to and teach chess to grade 1 and 2 children. MacEnulty’s short stay in Durban helped us plant vital seeds for developing chess in Durban and the Province of Kwa Zulu Natal.

An aerial shot of the city of Durban and it’s port

DMCA members with their chess hero after a training workshop. At Sivananda High School. The lady to the right of David MacEnulty (blue shirt and vest), Rivka Hermelin, completed her Masters Degree in Education – the thesis was on how chess improves your maths skills.

168 enthusiastic chess kids queuing up to register – DMCA Chairman Bongani Mgaga handling laptop

David opening the uShaka Rapid Chess Tournament

Tournament underway at uShaka Marine World

Desmond Rooplal vs David MacEnulty

A young GM in the making

I wonder whether I should I unleash my TN 1.e4!

Decisions… decisions

Ladies – Annamarie Geldenhuys and Keri Miller (newly converted to chess) know a good player when they see one! Annamarie played a vital role in sponsoring us the venue and other equipment to run the tournament.

David and Desmond enjoying lunch next to a shark tank – urmm, yes, shark tank, with live two metre sharks!! What’s lunch? Or who?! Thank you David MacEnulty for inspiring us!


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