Limerick student wins world under-17 chess championship

Teenager Diana Mirza says €100 bet with her father helped to motivate her as player earlier in life

Diana Mirza, a transition year student from Limerick, claimed the World Schools Under-17 Chess Championship at the weekend. Photograph: Facebook.

Diana Mirza, a transition year student from Limerick, claimed the World Schools Under-17 Chess Championship at the weekend. Photograph: Facebook.

 

Ireland has a new international chess champion after a 16-year-old won a world title in Romania.

Diana Mirza, a transition year student from Limerick, claimed the World Schools Under-17 Chess Championship at the weekend after nine days of competiton in Romania.

“I won the first game, drew the second one and then lost the third game. I thought I didn’t have any chances left, then my Dad motivated me and said I still had chances left,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

She said she managed to rally and go on to take the title.

“It depends how many points you finish with - it’s not a knock out tournament,” she explained.

Among those to congratulate the teenager was President Michael D Higgins, who said: “My heartfelt congratulations to Diana Mirza from Limerick on winning the World Schools Chess U17 Girls Championship.”

Diana, whose parents are from Romania, started playing chess at the age of five as her father, Gabriele, teaches chess in schools and would bring her with him.

“I picked up playing from there and became better and better and he brought me to competitions.”

Family competition

In an attempt to motivate his young daughter, Mr Mirza told her he would give her €100 if she beat him and €50 if they drew.

“When I was 10 I beat him and he gave me the money.”

Father and daughter still play friendly games at home, she said.

“We’re quite equal, but in an official competition I’d beat him.”

Diana’s parents are from Romania but, while not from the city where the chess championships were held, she said she had lots of support at the event.

“I’ve played in lots of international competitions and have made friends over the years,” she said.

“I go to Romania in the summer to play in tournaments as it’s very popular, so I had loads of support there.”

The student said that when she was younger she wanted to be an author, but she’s not sure now what she will do when she finishes school.