The African Youth Chess Championships started on a high note yesterday as the youngest participant, Ottilie Hinda, of Namibia, won the first round.
The tournament, in which about 300 participants from 15 African countries will battle it out for the three titles, will continue at the Boardwalk Lighthouses venue until Sunday.
The Namibian champion, 5, said she did not mean to finish first, before confidently sharing that she had a trophy back at home.
Ottilie’s mother, Menencia Hinda, 33, said they were extremely excited at the win.
“We’re pretty excited,” she said.
“This is a tough competition, and we were telling her she might not get points.
“It’s only round one, but we are very excited that she won it. “She’s quite confident.” The three titles up for grabs are the grand master, the International master and the Feda master.
Tournament convener Brian van Zyl said the African Chess Confederation was happy the competition had started successfully.
“The tournament has grown steadily since it started in 2009,” he said. “We had 224 players last year. “There were about 100 more this time.
“We have had accommodation problems as well as some participants travelling by bus from Lesotho, but because of the passion the players have, the day was a success.”
If one had a passion for something and the talent, one did whatever one could to find sponsors and raise funds, Van Zyl said.
Zambian player Daisy Simenda, 18, was worried that she was not well prepared.
“I practised every day but I had to divide my time because I have exams coming up in October.
“I’m ready for the rest of the tournament, but I feel that had I not had to prepare for my exams as well, I would be more ready.”