ASTANA – Winning four gold, two silver and two bronze medals, Kazakh children captured fourth place and achieved great success at the Asian Youth Chess Championship. The 11th annual competition, held May 30-June 8, welcomed an estimated 350 participants from 20 countries.
One of the medal winners was 9-year-old Amina Kayirbekova, who took first place. The champion noted she enjoyed the tournament and the chance to face top players.
“The event in Singapore was organised very well. All of us played in one room. The championship consisted of nine matches. I won all of them, because I trained a lot. The rivals were very strong, because the best chess players from all over the world came to participate in this event. All the girls who played at the world championship also participated in the Asian championship,” she said in a June 18 interview.
Kayirbekova (under age 9) won two of her team’s gold medals, with Nazerke Nurgali (under age 11) and Asel Serikbai (under age 13) bringing home the others. Silvers were captured by Kazybek Nogerbek (under age 11) and Aibek Katenov (under age 13). Nogerbek and Asel Serikbai, who competed in the under age 13 category, took the bronze medals.
Kayirbekova is sure studying at the chess academy doesn’t take away her school work, but even enhances it.
“It helps to develop logic and to do sums. Studying chess isn’t hard for me. I have enough free time to play. My grandfather taught me to play chess and I really liked it. After that, my parents sent me to this chess academy,” she said.
Nogerbek, who learned the game from his father and also enjoys it very much, spoke the same day about his silver medal.
“I liked the championship and Singapore very much. The competitors were very strong and I won seven matches. The last match took five and a half hours. We didn’t stop the game. My opponent from New Zealand was very formidable and I had a losing position, but finally I beat him,” he said.
Nogerbek said usually he goes to school in the morning and has free time in the afternoon. Three days a week at 5 p.m. he studies chess.
“On Sunday, we always have a play day. We don’t have any lessons this day, but play with each other. Studying chess takes approximately nine hours a week plus play day, but I really like it and I am fond of sports, too. I am a judo player,” he said.
Senior coach Yerzhan Shakenov noted the aim of the chess academy is to hone the games of not only the current crop of young players, but those yet to come.
“Our academy was established in 2010 on the initiative of the best chess players and coaches of Astana and Kazakhstan and I can surely say that it is one of the best in Kazakhstan. The goal of our organisation is the upbringing of future chess players of our country.”
“We study children from four years old and as of today, we have more than 100 students and several subsidiaries. Our motto is ‘Strong like Sky.’ This motto was very popular when I was a kid; it is very positive and motivating. The best coaches and even the chess grand of Kazakhstan work in our organisation. Our academy has champions of the world and we are really very proud of this fact,” he said.