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WATCH: Help Cape junior chess star Amahle Zenzile compete at nationals

Cape Argus logo Cape Argus 2019-03-07 BackaBuddy/Supplied
a person wearing a blue shirt: Two years ago, 11-year-old Amahle Zenzile, who attends Imbasa Primary School in Cape Town, started playing chess for the Crossroads Chess Club. © Provided by Independent Media Two years ago, 11-year-old Amahle Zenzile, who attends Imbasa Primary School in Cape Town, started playing chess for the Crossroads Chess Club.

Cape Town - Two years ago, 11-year-old Amahle Zenzile, who attends Imbasa Primary School in Cape Town, 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 1054 and winning almost every tournament she took on, in the Western Province Metro area.

Coach Thando Hlakula, who has guided Zenzile every step of the way, says her aptitude for chess is unmatched.

“From winning third place at the School Girls Tournament at Brackenfell high school in 2017, Amahle has gone on to win a number of gold and silver medals. She has been named ‘best player’ a number of times. She is currently ranked the 3rd best player in the Western Cape and for her age category, she is in the top 20 in South Africa,” says Hlakula.

Through participating in a number of chess events, many friendships have been formed along the way. At the Western Province trials almost 2 years, Zenzile met follow competitor, 12-year-old Trinity Van Beeck and the two became close friends.

“Amahle is one of my best friends in the chess community. We often hang out between matches and give each other encouragement and advice. She is an amazing player and a wonderful person. I once played against her and I thought it would be an easy win, but she outplayed me and I learned a valuable lesson: never to underestimate your opponent,” says Van Beeck.

Last year both Zenzile and Van Beeck qualified to represent Western Province at the SAJCC where their team won silver and they both were awarded gold for their respective boards. At the event, Zenzile qualified to move on the next round where she could go on to achieve her South African colours at the SAJCC Closed, held in Boksburg, Johannesburg from 16-23 of March 2019.

a young boy sitting on a couch: Pictured above: Amahle Zenzile (11) and Trinity Van Beeck (12). Photo credit: Flashlight Photography © Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd Pictured above: Amahle Zenzile (11) and Trinity Van Beeck (12). Photo credit: Flashlight Photography

Despite this outstanding accomplishment, the costs of making it to Johannesburg for the tournament and covering the cost of transport, food, and accommodation proved to be the only obstacle standing in Amahle’s way.

Unfortunately, Van Beeck didn’t qualify for the SAJCC Closed, but was happy to celebrate her friend’s outstanding performance.

When she heard that Zenzile might not make it to the finals due to financial constraints, she took matters into her own hands and created a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, to appeal to the public to support her friend.

“I started the BackaBuddy campaign for Amahle because I want to help my friend even though I didn’t qualify. I know how much time she spends in training every single day, she works harder than any other chess player I know and she deserves to represent our country. There are so few girls who play chess, it is a sport dominated by the boys and so when a girl like Amahle comes along, we should all support her,” said Van Beeck.

The campaign went live on Wednesday afternoon and has already raised R4 805.38  towards the fundraising target of R12 000 with contributions from 14 donors. The girl’s charming video appeal as also been viewed over 878 times on Facebook.

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

“Before I knew it, I had a camera crew in my kitchen and Trinity had begun planning her crowdfunding campaign.  We hope the public will continue to support this worthy cause, so Amahle can stay focused on the exciting challenge the lies ahead at Junior Chess Championship,” said Laas.

With quiet confidence, Zenzile has a message for her donors.

“Thank you to everyone who watched our video and donated to my BackaBuddy campaign. I didn’t think we would get this kind of response. Now everything seems possible for me,” said Zenzile.

Click here to make a donation to Amahle Zenzile's campaign on BackaBuddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/amahle-zenzile

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