Victoria Falls Grade Four pupils make National Under 10 Chess Team Princess Ncube and Emmanuel Zibambiso

Leonard Ncube, [email protected]

TWO Grade Four pupils from Victoria Falls have made it to the National Under 10 Chess Team after excelling at the National Association of Primary School Heads Chess competitions held in Chivhu, Mashonaland East.

Emmanuel Zivambiso from Jacaranda Montessori Primary School and Princess Eleanor Ncube from Mother Touch Primary School lifted the Matabeleland North flag high after making it to the top 5 at the Naph chess competitions in Chivhu.

Eight of the country’s provinces were represented at the tournament.

Both Emmanuel and Princess are nine years old and started playing chess when they were in Grade 2.

The duo qualified for the National Under-10 Chess team that will represent Zimbabwe in South Africa and Georgia.

Emmanuel and Princess both played last year in the School World Cup held in Greece.

The two have won several gold, silver, and bronze medals from local tournaments.

Princess won four of her seven games in Greece and scooped gold in the Under-8 category at the Cabs Candidates held in Bulawayo in December last year.

The two young players are members of the Victoria Falls Chess Academy which was launched last year as one of the legacy projects following the visit by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) delegation led by Chess-In-Education Commission chairman Jerry Nash of USA, FIDE instructor Anzel Laubscher from South Africa and grandmaster Nigel Short from UK.

The academy has held some tournaments and built a pool of players in different age groups.

The academy chair Mercy Mushangwe said the young players had made the resort city and Matabeleland North proud.

“It is very motivating to have two of children making it to the national team on behalf of Matabeleland North. I hope parents will get the same motivation and help their children take up chess as a sport,” she said.

Mushangwe said the Victoria Falls Academy was working on mobilising resources to meet world standards.

“We are looking forward to being more resourceful so that we can be well-equipped and prepare these children for international tournaments. Currently, we have enough chess boards to host 100 participants however we also need chess clocks as all international games are played using chess clocks. We need children to participate under world standards,” she said.

Victoria Falls is steadily growing as a sports destination with disciplines such as soccer, basketball, chess, athletics, and boxing being promoted.

The city has a boxing academy while plans are underway to build a 10 000-seater cricket ground.

Next month the city will host the National Association for Secondary School Heads athletics national finals at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School.

— @ncubeleon

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