Madibaz student Charlize van Zyl is expecting stiff competition when she competes for South Africa in the Online Chess Olympiad in August.
This tournament has been set up after the actual Chess Olympiad, scheduled for Russia next month, was postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 20-year-old BA student will face some of the best players in the world as SA have been already been placed in the top division, which gets under way on August 20.
“It is going to be tough as we are in the same division as strong chess countries such as Russia, China and the USA.
“But we still have some time to prepare and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Van Zyl was chosen for the national team after she excelled in a qualification tournament where she won the women’s section.
But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this time they will be competing online.
“It’s not a problem because I really enjoy it,” she said. “We will be playing on our laptops or desktops on the biggest online chess-playing platform – Chess.com.
“We will be closely monitored through webcams and microphones, so although it is different to live chess as you are not directly facing your opponent, which in itself is a huge psychological factor, your every movement is still being watched.”
Van Zyl said one of the chief differences was the time allowed in which players had to make their moves.
“The time control will be quite different. For the normal Olympiad and most prestigious over-the-board tournaments, the time control allows games to stretch on for hours.
“But in this competition we will have 15 minutes, plus five seconds. This means that both you and your opponent will start with 15 minutes and get an additional five seconds added to your clock for every move that you make.
“It means that games will not exceed an hour.”
She said her preparations would focus mostly on playing many games in this time format to get used to it.