Chess champion from Emmarentia on her way to World Youth Chess Championship

Chess champion Micaela Staal is on her way to Uruguay for the World Youth Chess Championship.

Three time South African Chess champion Micaela Staal is heading to Uruguay to compete in the World Youth Chess Championship.

The 13-year-old Emmarentia resident has already been named South African champion in the U8, U10 and most recently U14 age group category.


Andrew Horn will use Skype to coach Micaela Staal as she takes on chess players from all over the world.

She is now preparing for her take-off to Uruguay on 8 September to compete in the championship. The chess competition is for girls and boys between the ages of eight and 18 and chess players from all over the world gather annually to be crowned chess champion.

Micaela, who was named the African U8 youth chess champion, has been playing chess since the tender age of five and started playing competitive tournaments at six years old.

When asked why she enjoys chess Micaela said she loves solving problems, which is a life skill that she keeps improving. Her favourite chess piece is the queen – this is because “the queen is a dominator”. Her favourite opening, if her opponents play the right moves, is the Evans Gambit. The teenager shared her excitement about her chess journey to the South American country.


Chess coach Andrew Horn and Micaela Staal have their final preparation before she jets out to South America for her global chess competition.

Along with her chess addiction, Micaela said, “I enjoy the travelling because I know there is a reward at the end”.

In their final preparation before her departure her coach Andrew Horn, who has coached her for the last eight years, will be on call to guide her every step of the way thanks to technology. He jokingly said, “she is going to wake me up at some forsaken hour in South Africa and I’m going to Skype her and prepare her from here”.

He also said he believes she is more than ready to take on the world’s best. The two were enjoying sweet desserts as part of their pre-tournament ritual on 5 September. Micaela said, “before we go to big tournaments we always have chocolate pancakes”.

The tournament will take place between 16 and 26 September.

To keep up to date with her journey and progress, updates will be made online at

Andile Dlodlo

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