One of Indonesia’s brightest young chess players is looking to make her mark as a major tournament kicks off in the capital this weekend.
Medina Warda Aulia is one of 14 women and 95 men competing in the Telin Chess International Tournament, and the 13-year-old hopes to spring a surprise in a field that includes some of Southeast Asia’s best players.
“My goal is to reach grandmaster status in two years,” said the teenager, who hails from Bekasi, West Java.
Medina was encouraged by her father to take up chess full-time, meaning she had to give up her other hobby, painting. “My father was the one who noticed my talent in chess, so he really wanted me to develop that,” she said.
Medina began playing chess when she was eight, and it didn’t take long before she started to flash her extraordinary skills.
She said it took her only three months after learning chess to win her first tournament, the under-10 division of the West Java Chess Championships in 2006. That same year she finished fourth in the national championships.
In 2007, Medina made a dazzling debut on the international stage, winning the Asean Primary School Sports Olympiad in Jakarta. She then continued her rapid rise when she topped the U-11 category at the World School Chess Championship in Singapore the next year.
At the event, the International Chess Federation’s (FIDE) awarded her the rank of woman candidate master, the lowest-ranked title bestowed by the sports body.
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