Check mate – Amahle takes on the best

Chess whiz-kid Amahle Zenzile has been selected to represent South Africa at the African Youth Chess Tournament in Namibia next month.

The Curro Century City Independent School pupil, who has been training at Crossroads Chess Club in Cape Town since 2017, will take part in her maiden international tournament.

Amahle, 11, had missed the Common World Chess Games due to financial constraints this year but now her club managed to pool together to secure R40 000 in donations to fund her trip to Namibia.

Her mother Azile said she was excited to have her child invited for an international competition as Amahle was the first in her family’s three generations to travel across the borders of South Africa.

Although she stays in the Eastern Cape while her daughter is in Cape Town, she said she would call regularly to find out about her progress. “Amahle has always been a bright child, she has made the family proud because she keeps on grabbing bright colours in whatever she does. I truly hoped chess would take her places. It is already,” she said.

She ended ranked fifth at the SA Junior Chess Closed Championships, which took place earlier this year and in the Western Cape Schools Chess and the South African Schools Chess under-13 age group.

According to her coach Thando Hlakula, Amahle has continued to show maturity in chess beyond her age and has developed chess skills faster than many in her age group. He was glad his fellow pupils donated the money for her to realise her dream of competing abroad.

The chess-smart young girl attends chess classes religiously and manages to juggle the mind game with her schoolwork.

By Boitumelo Kgobotlo

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