Tristan set on winning chess champs

Tristan Jonkers is determined to win the South Africa Junior Chess Championships next year.

Aspiring chess grandmaster Tristan Jonkers, 11, of Northpine, believes hard work and determination is all he needs to win the South Africa Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) in Johannesburg next year.

But he needs help to get there.

The Grade 5 pupil at Brooklands Primary in Northpine started playing chess with his father at a young age, then joined the school’s chess club when he was 7 and the Kraaifontein Chess Club (KCC) in 2017.

After progressing from first-time player of the year to being player of the year for two years in a row, Tristan has bagged seven medals and more than 10 certificates in the past five years.

“At school I am known as the chess champion,” he said proudly.

His parents say Tristan, “eats, sleeps, plays chess,” and he has learnt discipline, planning, strategy and concentration.

Mr Jonkers said: “Tristan was running all over the place, and I decided to teach him how to play chess. It has taught him many good qualities and brought him calmness.”

Tristan said he would like to coach others in his community and become a chess grandmaster and play internationally.

“I want to encourage children and good players to never give up and always try their best at being the best,” said Tristan.

His mother, Desiree Jonkers, coaches chess at Brooklands Primary every Tuesday and Thursday. She encouraged parents to let their children join in the new term.

KCC chairperson Burton van Staaden called Tristan a “talented player and a real chess head”.

He said Tristan could go far because he was a self-motivated player.

Mr Burton said the club started in 2016 to introduce chess not only to young people but the whole community.

“I teach all over Kraaifontein with the hope of bringing good to the community,” he said.

Tristan and his family need R20 000 to get to the Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg for the championships in January next year. The family are selling hot dogs, boerewors rolls and soup from their home at weekends to raise money.

Contact Desiree Jonkers at 083 404 5132 or email jonkers.ds@gmail.com to support Tristan.