Zim chess prodigy set for Mexico

BY TERRY MADYAUTA

Kwekwe-based chess prodigy Leeroy Mpala is set to represent Africa at the World Amateur Chess championship to be held in Mexico between June 29 to July 7.

The Camelot School’s lower six student booked a place at the prestigious tournament after clinching gold medal at the Africa Amateur Chess championship held in Namibia in January.

The 17-year old is the first Midlands amateur chess player to ever qualify for this high profile tournament, having excelled at national and continental levels.

Mpala told NewsDay Sport that he was targeting top three at the World Amateur Championships.

“I’m very excited about the trip and am getting a coach from South Africa who will help me prepare for the tourney,” he said. “I know it will be tough, but my aim is to make it in top three. I hope to get a scholarship as well. I have to thank my coach, who groomed me and taught me the game in Grade 7, thanks to his academy called e Willenita School of Chess. I am
currently preparing online and am hopeful that my preparations will be enough to match international competition.”

In a statement, Camelot School principal Thabani Ncube said Mpala’s success was a landmark for the school and the country at large.

“All the while, whole-hearted support from his parents gave him the will to continue and improve. There were trying times financially, especially considering the melt down of the
local economy and an unstable currency, but never did their commitment falter,” he said.

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