Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD PASTIMES - – Nick Bar­nett

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!

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