Meet East London’s young chess maestro

Stirling’s Grade 3 pupil Driffield,8, flies flag high at SA championships

At only eight years old, a young East London boy has made a name for himself as a chess maestro.
Gary Driffield, who will move up to Grade 3 at Stirling Primary next year, solidified his skill for chess when he competed in the annual South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) held in Johannesburg from 16 to 24 December, and came out top of his category with six wins out of seven games.
Driffield represented the Buffalo City U10 age group as part of a 105-member squad of elite chess players from the Border region.
Over 2,000 top chess players from across the country competed in the championships which were headlined by chess grandmaster Wesley So from the United States.
When the Daily Dispatch met Driffield and his grandmother Nora Harris on Thursday, the young boy was still very excited about his win.
He said he taught himself how to play chess at the age of three after receiving a chess board as a Christmas gift from Santa Claus.
“I’m very happy and excited to have won, and I enjoyed playing with lots and lots of people in Johannesburg. Chess is a big challenge, you have to focus and think very hard. You must not let fear make you lose focus,” Driffield said.
In his young life Driffield has already faced many hardships, losing his mother when he was only three after she succumbed to a pulmonary embolism following a surgical procedure, and when he was seven his father was killed in a car accident. He said his biggest inspiration was his grandmother, who has joined him on all his chess games.
Harris said Driffield’s success in chess was bittersweet for her, as she wished his parents were alive to see him flourish.
“No words can describe how proud I am of him.
“It was such an achievement for him to be chosen for Buffalo City chess – and to come back with the trophy is mindblowing,” she said...

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