Chess-Collage

These young Cardiff sisters are taking on the world at chess
19:03, 16 AUGUST 2015
BY HUW SILK

Shayanna, 12, and 10-year-old Venetia Sivarajasingam will travel to Greece after their success at the British Championships

Two chess prodigy sisters from Cardiff have taken on the rest of Britain – and proved they are the queens of the board game.

Venetia Sivarajasingam recorded a perfect score to win the overall crown in her age category at the British Championships, which concluded last weekend.

It is a title which has only been won by a girl on a handful of previous occasions.

Her elder sister Shayanna, who also won the under-12s title at the Commonwealth Chess Championship in Glasgow last year, was crowned the British girls under-13s champion.

Venetia, 10, said she was pleased at her success.

“I always try to think positively and say I will try my best, and sometimes it happens,” she said.

“I felt quite nervous but also quite excited before the competition. When I won I felt really proud of myself and happy.”

She said her chess teacher Kevin Thomas had played a key role in her development.

The sisters, from the Penylan area of the capital, are both students at Howell’s School in Llandaff.

And they are now set to head off to Greece to take part in the World Championships.

Shayanna said she was looking forward to that trip – and the prospect of a beach holiday as well as the tournament.

Asked what she enjoyed about chess, the 12-year-old added: “I make lots of new friends and you also get to play with people that are different strengths to you.”

Qualification for the Greek venture comes after their success at the British Championships, which took place at the University of Warwick between July 25 and August 8.

Venetia was also handed the Roy Clues prize for the best overall performance by any Welsh competitor, as well as £250 in prize money.

Elsewhere, Anna Boyle of Cardiff and Hiya Ray shared the British under-nines girls’ title with four others, while Imogen Camp of Colwyn Bay became British under-14s and under-15s champion girl.

The Sivarajasingam sisters’ proud dad Vas said: “They have been playing since they were six or seven years old. The inspiration came from their chess teacher at school, Kevin Thomas.

“But beating dad at chess is one of the things that keeps them going, so they beat me all the time – it’s one of the things they can be the boss of.

“They are only 10 and 12 so they don’t quite appreciate what they are doing.

“They like chess but I don’t think they understand that what they are doing is so uncommon. They are quite level-headed.”

Beaming mum Sumitha added: “It was stressful but they are over the moon.”

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