Meet Randa from Palestine, the youngest participant at the Chess Olympiad

The eight-year-old is the cynosure of all eyes at the competition

By James Jose & Leslie Wilson Jr

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Randa Seder (centre) from Palestine watches her teammate in action. — FIDE
Randa Seder (centre) from Palestine watches her teammate in action. — FIDE

Published: Sun 31 Jul 2022, 8:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Jul 2022, 11:38 PM

The ongoing 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, features thousands of participants, including Grandmasters, International Masters, Women Grandmasters and Women International Masters.

But the cynosure of all eyes in the seaside resort of Mahabalipuram is on Randa Seder. The eight-year-old from Palestine is the youngest player at the tournament.

Randa booked her berth in the Palestine team after finishing second in their National Championship.

Randa Seder (second from right) with her teammates. — All India Chess Federation Twitter
Randa Seder (second from right) with her teammates. — All India Chess Federation Twitter

Randa, who learnt chess from her father when she was five, is part of the team which consists of Taqwa Hamouri, Sara Alhmouri and Eman Sawan. The team are making their debut in the competition.

Meanwhile, USA and India A confirmed their top billing when comfortably completing a hat-trick of wins on Sunday, as the UAE suffered a second defeat in three matches.

Having beaten Senegal in the second round expectations were high that the UAE team, a mix of young and old players, would maintain their winning momentum. However, the Portuguese quartet, shored by Grandmasters Jorge V Fierreira and Luis Galego, proved too strong on the day and won the tie 4-0.

The UAE face Mozambique in their fourth match on Monday.

Ferreira defeated UAE veteran Othman Moussa in a top table game while Galego had the measure of Omran Al Hisani.

Mohamed Saeed Laily went down to International Master Andre Sousa and Abdelrahman Mohammad Al Taher was beaten by Portugal’s Fide Master Jose Santos.

Meanwhile, world No 1 Magnus Carlsen found his Italian rival, and fellow Grandmaster Daniele Vocaturo difficult to topple and was forced to settle for a draw as Norway caved into the Italians 3-1.

The match, which pitted Grandmasters from both countries against each other, was closely watched and set the tone for a competitive fourth day’s action in the Chess Olympiad which is being held in India for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1927.

The format saw teams consisting of five players and four board matches taking place in each of the 11 rounds. Match points will decide the final standings with two points for a win, and one point for a draw.

The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes until the end of the game, plus a 30-second increment starting from move one.

The USA vs Georgia match was also full of expectations with both sides boasting a star cast of Grandmasters.

However, with two wins and two draws the American emerged as a convincing 3-1 winner and will meet Uzbekistan on Monday.

Hosts India also drew two matches against Iceland but wins by S.P Sethuraman and Abhijeet Gupta sufficed to secure a 3-1 win, their third in the tournament.

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