South Africa’s has very own Queen of Katwe, Nosipho Chauke, is just one of the 2 300 talented chess players that competed in the South African Junior Chess Championships held at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg from 3-12 January this year. This is the largest junior sporting event of any sporting code in South Africa.
This year, teams representing all nine provinces competed for the national title of their age group, and the Johannesburg metro team showed that they weren’t pawns in this game.
Johannesburg Metro achieved first place in the U8A championship division. This is the youngest division and the team almost certainly set a record by achieving a score of 40,5 out of 42 chess games.
The tame TIMES understands that the team of six were Nosipho Chauke, Alipheli Mcambi, Judah and Caleb Levitan, Milan van Urk and Raphael Felix. Nosipho’s team mates all won board prizes for undefeated performances.
“What I love about coaching chess is that it helps us solve problems, use our minds, plan and see moves ahead,” says Johannesburg Metro coach, Eric Mphathi.
The team is representative of transformation in the sport. The team is a made-up of a mix of children across ages, race and gender.
“Nosipho is a reminder to us that in chess, it doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you are from,” says Shaun Levitan (the team manager), “just like the little girl says to Phiona Mutesi in Queen of Katwe, ‘In chess, the small one can become the big one.’”
Photo: Back Row (left to right): Eric Mphathi (Coach), Shaun Levitan (Manager)
Front Row (left to right): Milan van Urk, Judah Levitan, Raphael Felix, Nosipho Chauke, Alipheli Mcambi, Caleb Levitan