Bursary Chess Star

Posted On : 2020-06-22

Third year BA Media, Communication & Culture student, Charlize van Zyl, has been chosen to compete in the World Chess Olympiad in Russia in August.

Charlize is a beneficiary of a Services SETA bursary which has allowed her to study at the Nelson Mandela University, whilst pursing her passion a world class chess player. We hope her drive and determination inspires other young people.   

Charlize was selected for the South African team after her outstanding performance in the national women’s Closed Championship last December where she placed joint third from 12 of the country’s strongest female players.

Making the Olympiad team has always been her goal and she worked extremely hard to get to this highly prestigious tournament. She made the team for the first time in 2018 when the tournament was held in Georgia.

Charlize was taught how to play chess by her father at the age of seven and it then became her passion. She began playing competitively at age eight and has taken part in many tournaments nationally and internationally since then.

At the age of 13, she won the Woman International Master title - the youngest South African ever to do so.

Apart from playing, she is also an accredited chess coach, coaching at schools as well as privately.

The tournament takes place every two years and the 44th instalment will be held in Moscow from 5 to 18 August.

The Services SETA wishes her well and we hope she represents the country well and brings the winning trophy home.


Madibaz chess player Charlize van Zyl has been chosen to represent South Africa at the World Olympiad in Moscow, Russia, in August. Photo: Anathi Dzanibe