Two sisters from Howell's School, Llandaff have been chosen to represent Wales in the women’s team at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. The Welsh Chess Championships 2016 saw an extraordinary result in the under 16 section, when sisters Shayanna (Year 8) and Venetia S. (Year 6) tied for first place with a player from north Wales. The rapid progress the sisters have made, which has resulted in numerous awards for themselves and for the school, caught the eye of the Welsh selection panel leading to their selection.
Chess teacher Kevin Thomas said: “This is an incredible achievement for someone so young. Many people expected Shayanna and Venetia to represent the national adult team at some stage but to do so at the ages of 13 and 11 is truly staggering.”
The Olympiad takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan, during the first fortnight of September. Joining the girls in the ‘City of Winds’ on the Caspian Sea will be a who’s who of the top chess players in the world. World Champion Magnus Carlsen will be representing Norway, while Hou Ifan, the women’s world champion, will be carrying the flag for China.
The organisers are expecting to host 2,000 chess masters from 175 countries. The event will take place in the famous Crystal Hall, where the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest was also held. The Welsh Squad of five players will play against eleven different countries over the course of the competition.