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8-year-old girl from Palestine, the darling of Chess Olympiad | Chess News

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MAMALLAPURAM: Randa Seder, an eight-year girl from Palestine can’t be missed in the sea of participants at the ongoing Chess Olympiad. With photo requests from players and spectators the moment she arrived for her game on Saturday, Randa already feels like a celebrity. “Yes, I like it,” said Randa, the youngest player in the competition.
At an age where most of her schoolmates are either binging on cartoons or cramming up their school syllabus, Randa relishes making moves on the board. “I enjoy both studies and chess,” Randa said.
Randa is not tall enough and sits on her knees to reach the table where the game is being played. But that is not stopping her from packing a punch as she won her game in 39 moves against Fahima Ali Mohamed of Comoros. Randa made the national team after securing a second place at the Palestine women’s championships earlier this year. It was Randa’s father who introduced her to the sport when she was five. “I took an instant liking to the sport,” said the eight-year-old.
Her teammates, who are much senior to Randa, understandably feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to taking care of her. They were seen guarding Randa when requests for photographs came. The team defeated Comoros 4-0. Her teammate Eman Sawan is hopeful that she will get to play tougher opponents as the event progresses. “It is the first time Palestine is sending a women’s team for the over-the-board Olympiad. We hope to take on stronger teams in the coming rounds,” she said.
Randa’s presence at the tournament has caught the attention of the legendary Judit Polgar. She had tweeted, “I will follow Randa and look forward to welcoming her in the studio after one of her victories.” On her part, Randa is hopeful of meeting her idol in the coming days.
Olympiad at the backdrop of war: The Palestine-Israel conflict has been on for years. The situation in the country has meant that the Palestine team had to take a longer route to reach Chennai. “We first went to Jordan, then to Bahrain before arriving in India,” said Eman. The team is hopeful that their performance in the Olympiad will boost the sport in Palestine. “We have very few tournaments at home and if we do well — chess will get more popular,” Eman said.

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