World Chess
Photo Credit: via BackaBuddy

The little queen’s gambit is on! At 9, Saheti student Mila Papanicolau is making big moves; set to represent South Africa at an upcoming World Chess Championships tournament.

And, her story to the big leagues is just as incredible.


Johannesburg, South Africa (26 April, 2023) — At nine-year-old, Mila Papanicolau has earned the title of chess firecracker. Now, the Saheti superstar is making her way to the world chess scene.

The grade 4 student is set to show off her moves at the World Cadet & Youth Rapid & Blitz Championships where she’ll represent South Africa.

Mila got bit by the chess bug at an early age, and has been honing her skills ever since. She’s already earned her stripes as the South African Chess Champion for her age group, but the little queen’s game is aptly just at its beginning.

After she was selected to compete in the World Youth Champs cycle in Georgia, Mila’s family was determined to make make sure their girl would get to show the rest of the world what she’s made of.

Travel fees of this nature are steep for most on a good day, especially with limited opportunities for chess funding in South Africa.

And, given her mother’s recent diagnosis of stage 4 terminal cancer adding to the financial and emotional strain for the family, the answer was to turn to the community, who answered the call as they so often do for worthy causes.

All in all, people rallied together to give Mila her Beth Harmon moment; surpassing the initial goal of R79 000, with R92 393 raised in total.

Mila will shake up the chessboards at the tournament in June. A week later, she’ll check out (and hopefully checkmate) the Commonwealth Chess Tournament.

Source: BackaBuddy
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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