Chess champion to represent SA in Namibia after receiving SA colours

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Shortly after receiving her South African colours for chess, Amahle Zenzile (11) from Crossroads, Cape Town has been invited to once again represent South Africa at the African Youth Chess Tournament to be held in Namibia.

Two years ago, Amahle who lives with her grandmother, 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 1284 and winning almost every tournament she took in, in the Western Province Metro area.

Thando Hlakula (37), who coaches Amahle at no charge and has guided her every step of the way, says her determination and her aptitude for chess is unmatched.

“Amahle has gone on to win a number of gold and silver medals. She has been named ‘best player’ numerous times. She is currently ranked 2nd best player in the Western Cape and for her age category, she is currently ranked 5th in South Africa!” says Thando

Thando Hlakula and Amahle at the 2019 SAJCCC in Johannesburg.

Amahle’s consistent hard work paid off in March this year at the SAJCC Closed, where she played against the top 30 under 12 yrs girls from across South Africa.

With a crowdfunding campaign launched on BackaBuddy by her best friend and fellow competitor, Trinity Van Beeck (12), Amahle was able to afford the trip to Johannesburg to compete in the event. With quiet confidence, she went on to receive her South African colours and finish 5th in her age group.

Amahle Zenzile (11) at the SAJCC in Johannesburg

Since then Amahle has gone on to win the Western Cape Schools Chess under 11 Girls division, the South African Schools Chess under 13 girls tournaments and has been invited to represent South Africa at The African Youth Chess Tournament from the 14th to the 22nd December 2019 in Namibia.

“The progress she has made in a very short space of time is quite remarkable. There is no diction to convey how proud and happy I am for her and looking forward to the African Youth in Namibia.” says Thando

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

To cover the costs of the trip to Namibia, as well as the registration and accommodation costs, Amahle’s friend, Trinity once again set up a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to appeal to South Africans to support Amahle’s chess dreams.

“My beautiful friend has a warrior spirit and I am so proud to be her friend. She is a shining beacon of hope to other children in her community. I am inspired by her every single day and I would love to help her on the next part of her journey. She is so deserving of this opportunity.”  says Trinity

Trinity Van Beeck (12)  and Amahle Zenzile (11) share a special friendship.

The crowdfunding campaign went live on the 8th of October and has already raised  R42 944.05 towards the fundraising target of R40 000 with contributions from over 85 donors. 

Trinity’s mom, Marisa Laas (41), couldn’t be prouder of the dynamic young ladies.

“Just as we had no doubt with our last BackaBuddy campaign that Amahle would go on to achieve her South African Colours, we are all absolutely certain that she will go on to become a Women’s Candidate Master at the African Youth Chess Championship.” says Marisa

Amahle Zenzile, Marisa Laas and Trinity Van Beeck.

Trinity has also qualified for the South African Junior Closed Chess Championship to be held in 2020, where she could also earn her SA colours and go on to compete internationally alongside Amahle next year.  

“These two beautiful girls inspire and push each other to be the best and as a mom I couldn’t be prouder of them both. Even at their young age they understand the importance of women supporting other women. We as adults can learn so much from them” – says Marisa

To make a donation to Amahle’s campaign on BackaBuddy, visit 

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported Amahle in any way, without your help none of these achievements would have come to fruition and there is more talent to be unearthed with your generous support.” says  Thando

Amahle’s achievements to date:

  • 2017: Won Third place (Bronze) at school girls tournament in Brackenfell high school.
  • 2018: Won First place (Gold) at districts south trials under 11 girls section.
  • 2018: Won Second place (Silver) at the WP Metro schools closed trials and went on to the next stage held at Kleinmond in the schools regional tournament.
  • 2018: Won a rating prize at the Steinitz Chess Festival event hosted in Bellville Technical High.
  • 2018: Won Crossroads best player at the Crossroads Chess Championship.
  • 2018: She played in her school under 11 girls league team and they won the South Districts and qualified to the next stage where they competed in the Schools League Regional Tournament.
  • 2018: Won first place (Gold) in Crossroads Winter Games chess tournament in under 12 section.
  • 2018: Won a junior prize at the Grassy Park Chess tournament held at Groote Schuur Secondary school
  • 2018: Won Best Girl prize at the Mandela Month Blitz Chess Festival held at Observatory Community Centre.
  • 2018: Won First place (Gold)  with her Western Province girls team at the Kings and Queens Chess Tournament held in Worcester.
  • 2018: Won Third place (Bronze) at the schools girls tournament held in Brackenfell high school.
  • 2018: She qualified to represent Western Province under 12 girls A team at the SAJCC held in Boksburg, her team got second place and won silver and she also won a gold trophy for a board prize.
  • 2018: Obtained her South African colours at the SAJCCC 2019 held in Benoni thus qualifying to participate in the African Youth Chess Championship in Namibia and Chess Commonwealth in India.
  • 2019: Won the Western Cape Schools Chess individuals under 11 Girls, held in Mossel Bay and thus qualifying to play in the Schools Chess Nationals tournament in order to represent South Africa abroad.
  • 2019: Won the under 13 Girls South African Schools Chess Nationals hosted in Kimberly with an impressive score of 6.5 out of 7 thus qualifying her to participate in world schools tournament to be held next year.

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