WATCH: Check out the 13-year-old chess prodigy from Elsies River

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When Tezihano Mnyatsa’s grandmother dropped a quiet, 11-year-old boy at a Cape Town community hall one day, she couldn’t have known it would lead to him travelling to international competitions. 

The hall in Leonsdale, Elsies River, offered a safe space, shielding youngsters from some of the dangers in an area rife with gang violence and substance abuse. 

But Tezihano Mnyatsa’s extraordinary talent for chess became apparent soon after his arrival.

Isaac (Sakkie) Kay, Tezihano’s first coach, told News24 about the youngster’s striking progress.

‘He beat them all’

“I told him to play against the kids who are stronger chess players and then, as time passed, he beat them all,” Kay said.

He eventually took Tezihano to the Elsies River chess club, where he would let him play against even more advanced players, and he beat them too.

On June 7, Tezihano flew to India to participate in the Under-14 Commonwealth Chess Championship, where he won two out of seven matches, helping the South African team finish in second place overall.

Next in his sights is the South African Junior Chess Championship in January 2020.

Leonsdale community hall play leader, Ricardo Speelman, told News24 that the venue was selected to host two Guinness World Record attempts in 2020.

They will attempt to fill the hall with 2 500 chess players for a day to beat the current record of 1 469 players, as well as try to break the record for longest continuous chess play of 50 hours.

Being a loyal member of his club, Tezihano will be a part of the record attempts as well.

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