Raheen wonder kid now one of the best

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

Young versus old: Diana Mirza who took on the 10 time former Lithuanian champion, an 83-year-old chess veteran in the European Womens Chess championships and won
A 15-year-old student from Raheen has been confirmed as one of the top female chess players in Europe.

A 15-year-old student from Raheen has been confirmed as one of the top female chess players in Europe.

Diana Mirza, born in Limerick to Romania parents Gabriel and Stella, came third in the European Women’s Amateur chess champions held in Kanunas, Lithuania.

She finished the tournament with seven out of nine points, equal to the winning competitor but losing out on a tie break. She is a student at Colaiste Chiarain, in Croom and sits her Junior Cert this year.

Diana, now number one female player in Ireland, has lived all her life in Limerick and got her passion for chess through her father, Gabriel who coaches children in the art of the game.

“In round five I played against 10 time former Lithuanian champion who was 83 years old. The game was quite interesting, where she sacked a pawn to get a good attack but I managed to swap off queens and eventually won the rook endgame,” said Diana, who is a member of St Michael’s and Adare Chess clubs.

The quietly spoken teenager was crowned Irish Women’s Chess Champion, when she was just 13 years of age. She is also the only Irish chess player to win silver and bronze medals at the European Union Youth Chess Championships.

“This month I played in The European Women’s Amateur Chess Championships, which as held in Kaunas, Lithuania where I was invited by GM Sarunas Sulskis one of my dad’s good friends. The area I stayed in was beautiful; the weather was really hot, ranging between 30-35 degrees,” she explained.

“I think the last round was the most nerve wracking because if I lost I wouldn’t have gotten in the top three because I would have lost on tie break, there fore I had to win to secure my place in the top three, “I finished the tournament with seven out of nine, with equal points as first place but losing out on tie-break,” she added.

“The experience I had was amazing and I was honoured to have the opportunity to play in this tournament, I got great experience which will help me tremendously in the European and World Youths later this year.”

It is going to be a very busy few months for Diana as in a few weeks she heads to Croatia to take part in the European U18 chesss championships.

Then on October 24 Diana will be flying out to Greece totake parte in World Youth championships taking part in the U16 section.