An Emirati girl has been crowned the under nines world school chess champion after winning an international championship in Europe.
Rouda Alserkal, eight, from Abu Dhabi, won the title on Sunday at the World School Chess Championship in Albania after playing nine rounds against her peers. She lost one round, drew one and won seven games in the competition.
Rouda, who is the youngest of seven siblings, started playing chess at the age of four after watching her family, said her father, Essa Alserkal.
“She watched us, tried to play and she liked it. I took her to the Abu Dhabi Chess Club and she started there,” he said.
She was just four years and seven months at the time. Within another six months she had won her first competition, said Mr Alserkal, the bronze medal in Asia for her age group.
Zuhair Ahmad, technical director of Abu Dhabi Chess Club, said it was clear that Rouda had a special ability for chess from the very start.
She could easily hold her concentration for an hour and a half’s game at the age of four.
“That is not easy for children under six years-old,” said Mr Ahmad. Now, she can concentrate for up to 10 hours on a game.
Mr Ahmad said Rouda is also technically the best player in the world under the age of 10 based on points.
She has 1,600 points – most players start with around 1,000 and are awarded more points as they win games, like tennis.
“To have a high rating is not easy here because there aren’t as many tournaments here as there are in Europe, where there are tournaments daily,” he said.
“If she receives good training after six years she will be the first in the world [overall]."