Sunday, January 20, 2008

12-year-old Kfar Sava girl defeats 20 men (in chess tournament)

Ha'aretz reports this weekend on this cute story: click here for the full original article. Following is an excerpt and highlight from the story:
The most important official event of the tournament took place on Tuesday in a long row of chess games played by grandmasters from Israel, Ukraine, Poland and Germany. At the same time, dozens of Jews and Arabs participated in the Galilee competition, which offered $20,000 in total prize money.

But most of the spotlight was on a simultaneous exhibition match between a 12-year-old Israeli girl, Marsel Efroimski, and 20 chess players seated next to each other who waited anxiously for the young girl's fast-paced moves. Efroimski, the child of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, lives in Kfar Sava and is a seventh grade student. She says that since age eight, she has been playing chess. Her inspiration and her primary influences came from her father and grandfather.

"Chess is a game that requires a lot of thought," Efroimski said. "I know that it's not a game that draws crowds, but it's a very interesting game and in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, there were actually people who were interested and came to watch the games or participate."

The 20 courageous players did not stand much of a chance against the girl who in November was crowned the world youth chess champion in the under-12 girls category at the championships that were held in Turkey. The title earned her an invitation to receive the congratulations of President Shimon Peres.

Within an hour of beginning the chess matches at the community center in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, 20 victories were credited to Efroimski, who stood throughout the entire competition, as is customary, and merely sprinted from one chessboard to the next.

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