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[Chess]11-year-old chess star from Colchester represents Europe

2021-08-21 01:05 Tag:

  She has now competed in a tournament called the Queen’s Blitz Festival where players were allowed just three minutes and two seconds to make each move.

  Mae contested 22 games against girls of all ages and although she managed to win fewer than half of them, her father and coach Michael Catabay said he was pleased with how she performed.

  “I managed to watch all the games, and I think there were just two games out of the 22 where she actually played badly,” he said.

  “Out of the other 20 games, her standard of play was brilliant. But in chess, you only need to make one mistake, and you effectively concede the game.”

  Mae enjoyed the challenges, however.

  She said: “I was definitely feeling nervous at first but I actually then got quite excited, because I was looking forward to playing against older and stronger players.”

  Mae has come a long way from her first chess tournament in 2015, where she had something of a chastening experience.

  Despite being on the wrong end of some thrashings, she persevered and has since gone on to reap the rewards.

  Read more >> How Colchester schoolgirl Mae has become a chess champion at 11-years-old

  “When we went to Colchester for her first tournament about six years ago, I told her beforehand that it doesn’t matter if she loses her games,” Mr Catabay said.

  “Well, she then lost all her games for six rounds. But the next month, we went again for another tournament and she just got better and better.”

  Mae practises honing her skills for at least three hours a day, including after the competition.

  She said: “After I finished school on Monday, I went back to playing with my brother and asked him what I need to improve on.”

  She did get a present from her father for her international achievements – a chess book.

  Mae said: “The new chess book has been really useful so far. It’s giving me a lot to think about.”

  With young Mae Catabay improving at an exponential rate, and with older siblings to spar with over the chess board at home, does her father think she is approaching a level where she is capable of beating even him?

  Mr Catabay said: “I would still come out on top but if I make one mistake – that’s it. We’ve had some practise lately and she beat me. If I make a mistake, I lose the game.”