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Young Cape Town chess champion set to represent SA

After receiving her South African colours for chess, Amahle Zenzile, 11, has been invited to represent South Africa in a tournament abroad.

The chess champion, who lives with her grandmother in Crossroads, Cape Town, will soon travel to Windhoek to compete in the African Youth Chess Tournament.

Two years ago, Amahle started playing chess for the Crossroads Chess Club. It didn’t take her long to become one of the best players in her age group, maintaining an impressive rating of 1,284 and winning almost every tournament she took part in in the Western Province metro area.

Thando Hlakula, who coaches Amahle at no charge and has guided her every step of the way, says Amahle’s determination and aptitude for chess is unmatched.

“Amahle has gone on to win a number of gold and silver medals. She has been named ‘best player’ numerous times. She is currently ranked 2nd best player in the Western Cape and for her age category, she is currently ranked 5th in South Africa!” says Thando.

Amahle’s consistent hard work paid off in March this year at the South African Junior Chess Championship, where she played against the top 30 Under-12 girls from across South Africa.

With a crowdfunding campaign launched on BackaBuddy by her best friend and fellow competitor, Trinity Van Beeck, Amahle was able to afford the trip to Johannesburg to compete in the event. With quiet confidence, she went on to receive her South African colours and finish 5th in her age group.

Amahle, Thando and Trinity with the ENCA news team (Image: @CrossroadsChessClub Feacebook)

Since then Amahle has gone on to win the Western Cape Schools Chess U11 girl’s division, the South African Schools Chess U13 girls tournaments and has been invited to represent South Africa at the African Youth Chess Tournament from the 14th to the 22nd December 2019 in Namibia.

“The progress she has made in a very short space of time is quite remarkable. There is no diction to convey how proud and happy I am for her and looking forward to the African Youth in Namibia.”

– Thando Hlakula

To cover the costs of the trip to Namibia, as well as the registration and accommodation costs, Amahle’s friend, Trinity, has set up another crowdfunding campaign to appeal to South Africans to support Amahle’s chess dreams. You can donate to the campaign here, on Backabuddy.

“My beautiful friend has a warrior spirit and I am so proud to be her friend. She is a shining beacon of hope to other children in her community. I am inspired by her every single day and I would love to help her on the next part of her journey. She is so deserving of this opportunity.”

– Trinity Van Beeck

The crowdfunding campaign went live on the 8th of October and has already raised R3,387.66 towards the fundraising target of R40,000 with contributions from 12 donors. 

Trinity’s mom, Marisa Laas, couldn’t be prouder of the dynamic young women.

“Just as we had no doubt with our last BackaBuddy campaign that Amahle would go on to achieve her South African Colours, we are all absolutely certain that she will go on to become a Women’s Candidate Master at the African Youth Chess Championship,” says Marisa.

Trinity has also qualified for the South African Junior Closed Chess Championship to be held in 2020, where she could also earn her SA colours and go on to compete internationally alongside Amahle next year.  

“These two beautiful girls inspire and push each other to be the best and as a mom I couldn’t be prouder”

– Marisa Laas

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