Despite the disappointment, the exposure no doubt did the players the world of good.
THE CONTINGENT from the Northern Cape Chess Association landed in Kimberley on Tuesday after competing in the Africa Youth Chess Championship in Ghana.
The four amateur chess players from the Northern Cape returned home empty-handed after taking part in the tournament held in Accra, Ghana from September 17-26.
The Northern Cape Chess Association players made up of the three Ahjum siblings Annabelle (10), Kirsten (14) and Savannah (16) and a fourth player Omaatla Mothata all collected too few points in the Swiss-formatted annual continental chess competition.
Co-ordinator Warren Ahjum said the Northern Cape chess contingent had the odds stacked against them from the outset. Firstly they had to be cut down drastically from the initial squad of 12 members to a mere four players.
“The processes from Chess South Africa are such that we were notified about this (continental) competition with about a week left before it (entry fees) was due. That left some of our members in far off places such as De Aar and the like with very little time to muster enough funds in time to make the cut for the tournament.
“Although the provincial Sports and Arts Council did help us with a R20,000 grant. In my case I had to put up some of the funds to get my children to the tournament. Others were simply less fortunate,” he explained.
Ahjum said the scramble to get their logistics in ship shape led to the local contingent missing out on some of the initial games of the tournament.
His elder daughter Savannah missed four legs of the nine-step Swiss format tournament. However, of the games she did manage to compete in, she won four and drew one match. Savannah ended up gathering less than the ideal number of points to get a permanent title bestowed on her had she been a tournament winner.
But despite the disappointment, the exposure no doubt did the players the world of good.