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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

RSA Junior Champion

Story by Esther Lewis

Three-time winner of the SA Junior Chess Championships Tiffany Darling
Picture: Candice Mostert Meet-a-princess-of-chess

'Cape Town - Rows of black-and-white tables fill the sports hall at UCT. There is a low murmuring as children from across the country concentrate on their individual games at the South African Junior Chess Championships. They look up only to stare down their opponents.

Among the 2 052 chess players is 12-year-old Cape Town girl Tiffany Darling. Her opponent is a boy from the East Gauteng team.

They have been playing since 9.30am. Earlier in the day, they were relaxed. But by 1pm, they are the only players left and both are visibly tense. Eventually, an official calls the game a draw. Tiffany shakes her opponent’s hand at the table, before running off to discuss the tournament with her friends.

Tiffany may be only 12 years old, but she already has several accolades to prove her talent and success. They include being named the Most Promising Primary School Player of the Year in 2011 and achieving great results at the African Youth Championships.

But her greatest achievement, says Tiffany, was in 2010. “My highlight was winning at the Commonwealth Games in India,” she says.

Unlike many of the players in the hall, Tiffany does not have a chess coach. Her father, who is not a professional player, helps Tiffany and her brothers along. “It’s nice to have my dad (as my coach). He can help me with everything. He knows my weakness and how I can improve,” she says.

Her mother, René Darling, says the three have always been passionate and competitive, and that it is part of what drives them.(more)'

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