Four KwaZulu-Natal girls who were part of the team that represented SA in the World Youth Chess Championships have returned, achieving a credible result for the country.
Seshni Govindasamy, 18, Tasmin Amra, 15, Keyana Padayachee, 12, and Kriti Lalla, 10, were among 40 who formed the national team, participating in the championships in Caldas Novas, Brazil, from November 14 to 28.
The girls with their parents returned on Tuesday, tired and missing home.
Seshni, who is a first-year medical science student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the place was beautiful, but the tournament tough.
“It was very difficult. Every player was extremely strong,” she said.
Seshini managed to win three out of nine games in the under-18 category.
Their coach, Eric Takawira, of Chess KZN, said the girls gave a good performance in the tough circumstances.
“The South African team performed well because we were able to raise our points from last year’s 38 percent to 43 percent.
“Kriti also managed to get one of the best scores, winning five out of nine games, and only 16 children in our team achieved that.”
Takawira said the tournament was tough because South Africa’s approach to chess was different from that of countries in Europe, for example.
“We practice one hour a day and they practice eight hours a day. Eastern European countries have chess as part of the school’s curriculum and growing up, they’re focused on becoming chess grandmasters.”
Tasmin won four games and has been the national champion in her category four times. She is also the under-16 KZN provincial champion.
Keyana won three and a half games and has also been a closed master, meaning she beat the top 10 best in the country in 2010.
Kriti is the best female player for KZN 2011.
The girls will form part of the 24 player squad going to Zambia for the African Youth Championships on December 10.
l On December 4, the My Chess Club at Point Road will host the South Beach Chess Rapid Open for 2011 tournament at Addington Primary.
People of all ages can enter for the price of R20.
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