Nelson Mandela University student Charlize van Zyl is ready to compete at the highest level when the World Chess Olympiad takes place in Moscow, Russia, in August.
The 20-year-old has been included in the national team for her second Olympiad, having previously competed in Georgia in 2018.
“It is a highly prestigious tournament and I have worked very hard to make the team,” said Van Zyl.
“Countries from all over send their best male and female teams, consisting of five players each, so the top players in the world will be there.”
This is the 44th Chess Olympiad and it will be held from
August 5 to 18.
Van Zyl caught the eye when she ended joint third in the national women’s Closed Championship in December.
The former Erica Primary and Collegiate High pupil said she learnt the game from her father at the age of seven.
“When I was eight I began to play competitively and I have taken part in many tournaments nationally and internationally since then.
“In 2013, at the age of 13, I attained the Woman International Master title, becoming the youngest South African ever to do so.”
Chess, she added, was a big part of her life.
“It is a massive passion for me. Apart from playing I am also an accredited chess coach, coaching at schools as well as privately.
“I believe that chess has had an incredible influence on me as a person, to the extent that it is part of who I am.”