EP juniors strike gold at SA chess tournament

File Picture: EP Junior Chess Players
File Picture: EP Junior Chess Players

The sharp minds of the Eastern Province junior chess teams proved to be among the best at this year’s South African Junior Chess Championship.

Of the province’s 115 representatives, 102 chess players were selected from around Nelson Mandela Bay ranging in ages from eight to 20.

They competed against more than 2 000 players at the championship hosted in Kimberley.

The EP teams won three gold, one silver and three bronze medals at the tournament.

Matthew Govindsamy, 11, said the experience was a lot of fun and he was looking forward to next year’s competition.

“I have been playing chess for the past three years. I just find it so much fun. I made quite a few new friends and I won a trophy,” the Westville Primary School Grade 6 pupil said.

Kyle Rensburg, 16, said: “I enjoy the game because it helps me in my dayto-day life, especially with maths. We won a bronze medal this year but I’m sure we will be even better next year. It is a lot of fun being surrounded by like-minded people and I look forward to next year’s competition.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Chess Union president Winston Dalpat said he was proud of the team’s performance.

“Chess is a growing sport in the Bay, especially now that we have extended our reach to the northern areas and some rural regions. These kids love the game and corporates are seeing the value of the game and providing us with sponsorships.

“This year we are expanding even further and starting braille chess for the blind. Chess motivates these youngsters, especially tournaments like this, which give them something to work towards,” Dalpat said.

Team manager Marsha Rensburg said: “It is encouraging to see that the sport is definitely growing in the Nelson Mandela Bay region. I can’t wait to see how we perform at next year’s championship.”

– Tremaine van Aardt 

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