Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK


UK

Piece of cake for chess girl

Stephanie Hale has been making the right moves

Those who think policemen are getting younger are in for a shock - the world's youngest national chess player is just four years old.

Stephanie Hale, of Chigwell Row, Essex, has entered the record books after playing in the National Mini Squad Tournament.


The BBC's Emma Simpson reports
Her success has even made relatively grown men cry - a boy of nine burst into tears after she beat him in a match.

Stephanie started playing chess when she was two and played her first tournament aged three and a half, with the set-up changed so she could reach the board.

With no under-fours league for her to compete in, she has to play children aged six and seven at the Essex Junior Chess Club.


[ image: Rival: Briton Ruth Sheldon was world under-14 chess champion in 1993]
Rival: Briton Ruth Sheldon was world under-14 chess champion in 1993
There is no chess coach in her area, so her mother Sue, a teacher and chess player, takes her on a one-and-a-half-hour journey to Southend for lessons.

"She grew up with the older children playing chess. When she was two she set up a chess board correctly and knew the moves of all the pieces. From the age of two and a half she was playing games," said Mrs Hale.

"When Stephanie beat a nine-year-old boy he was very upset. He burst into tears and just couldn't understand how someone so young had beaten him," she added.

The child prodigy has not yet won a championship but has been awarded Saltek Chess Computers' player of the month, awarded by chess expert Leonard Barden who spotted grandmasters Nigel Short and Michael Adams.

"Stephanie is the youngest player we have yet discovered," he said.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

23 Jun 99 | Sci/Tech
Kasparov's chess pieces disappear

16 Mar 99 | Sport
Giving chess a sporting chance





Internet Links


Traveller Chess Sites

Internet Chess Club


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online