"My opponent left a glass of whisky 'en prise' and I took it 'en passant". - Henry Blackburne | SINCE 2007

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rebecca Selkirk Wins In South Africa

Rebbeca Selrik
AN EAST London schoolgirl jetted off to India on Friday to represent South Africa at an international chess tournament.Grade 11 Hudson Park High pupil Rebecca Selkirk, 16, the first Border player to receive national junior colours, will be representing South Africa at the Commonwealth Chess Tournament in Delhi . Later this year she jets off to Greece and Botswana for more international tournaments.
Her selection comes after she took part in the South African Junior Closed Tournament in Pretoria last month and walked away with second place in the under 18 girls’ section.

Speaking to the Dispatch before she left for India, Selkirk said she was happy to be given an opportunity to be part of the South African team . “It came as a surprise. I still do not believe it; especially being selected for two other tournaments later in the year,” she said. Selkirk said her love for chess had been motivated by her sister and brother who played chess at primary school. She was later encouraged by a teacher at Hudson Park Primary School, Olwyn Swart. “I carried on with it until today. I did not look back and I don’t think I will ” she said. Since December last year, the teenager has played more than 50 local and national championship games – with some lasting more than four hours.

In December, she played in the South African Individual Junior Chess Championships, where she finished sixth in the under-18 and under-20 girls’ sections. Her victory at the individual championship gained a direct invitation to the South African Closed Tournament . When Selkirk isn’t playing championship matches, she keeps herself busy with league games, coaching new players and learning new strategies to outplay opponents.

“What I like about it is that one learns new skills every day, but I always believe it just needs concentration,” she said. Border Chess Union head coach and development officer Sven Stocklose said Selkirk was the first player from Border to receive full South Africa colours . “She is a very determined, humble young lady with a never-say-die attitude, hard working and she participates in every tournament she is able to,” he said.

Stocklose said he wished her every success in the tournament in India and for the ones coming later in the year. “I am confident that she will again make us proud,” said Stocklose. Father Wayne Selkirk said the family was proud of his daughter’s achievements. “Notwithstanding her achievements, she still makes time to fulfil her responsibilities at school and at home. She deserves to be given the opportunity to represent South Africa.” Selkirk returns from India on May 21 and is expected to attend two other tournaments, in Botswana in August and the World Youth Games in Greece in October

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