“I have been dreaming about this for a long time and now it’s finally going to happen.” These are the words of Juan Pierre (JP) Shariff (13), who has been chosen to play in the trials for the South African Junior Chess championships to be hosted by the 4 Knights in Johannesburg. The trials will be taking place this weekend.
Shariff explained that he has been playing Chess since the tender age of 7 years and won his very first trophy at 9, which is still on display at the school where he was attending at the time in the Northern Cape.
His mother, Meloney Shariff, told Bloemfontein Courant that when they relocated to Bloemfontein, it was a really big struggle, as she could find no one who could help her son further his chess career. “I went to one of the local schools in the area and the principal offered to help, he gave my son the opportunity to teach other learners how to play during first and second break and that’s where his chess career lifted off once again and started playing for the Heidedal Chess Foundation.”
Shariff said that there have been many victories and losses in her sons chess career but through it all, she will always stand by and support her son in every way that she can and she thanks God for his amazing talent. She further said that chess is a financially straining hobby and there have been many times where he could not go on certain tours because the lack thereof. “We appeal to anyone who can assist us in making his dream a reality to please donate, even if it’s just R10. This is such an exciting time for us all, just being chosen for the trials is a victory in its self and we are looking forward to seeing him live out one of his dreams,” she said.
Nine other students from the Heidedal Chess Foundation have been chosen to participate in this championships and the foundation is requesting that anyone who can assist financially by giving a small donation to please contact Shariff on 084-814-5866.