CAPE Town-based Woman Grand Master Melissa Greeff, 15, has a rival – and she is nine years old.
Tiffany Darling scored nine out of nine at the end of the year SA Junior Individual Championship at UCT. She started hot favourite, having had impressive successes in her short career, notably a whitewash at the 2009 SA Schools Open which ran alongside the SA Open at Wynberg.
She was undefeated on top board for the WP under-10 team (boys and girls) at the teams’ championship.
When I met Tiffany on Wednesday she admitted that she loved beating the boys.
WP players did not fare as well as in previous years. The two under-10s, Tiffany and Daniel Barrish (rated 1 700) were the stars. More on Daniel next week.
● WGM Greeff also likes to take on the boys and is playing in the African junior championship in Egypt. Melissa has an even score, while the leading South African, Ryan van Rensburg, has obviously recovered from a below-par result at the recent SA Closed. In the girls’ section, Egyptian WGM Mona Khaled leads with 7.5 out of eight, and Cape Town’s Laura Irving shares second with the other SA girl, Angelique Hattingh.
● A cricket-loving grandmaster was asked whether blundering at chess was like going out for 99. “Definitely not. If you go out for 99 you still have 99, in chess a blunder means zero.”
● The traditional Hastings Chess Congress, first played in 1895, took place from December 28 to January 5. Andrei Istratescu (Romania), Romain Edouard (France), David Howell and Mark Hebden (England) all finished on 7/9.
● Last week the 19-year-old world chess leader, Magnus Carlsen, was featured in an interview in Time magazine. It is seldom that chess makes it to the pages of this kind of publication. It makes the young man almost human.
You might also take a peek at the latest SA Sports Illustrated, in which Greeff takes on two elderly gents and the magazine’s editor.
● Visit the Alain White Chess Problems Collection at the SA National Library in the Gardens. Collated over many years by the late Donald G McIntyre, the collection was named after Alain Campbell White, an American chess expert. It includes most of White’s publications and works on chess problems by masters all over the world. A study by the great Russian composer Alexander Troitsky. You will kick yourself if you don’t get this one in five minutes. That’s the clue!