One is a 48-year-old former world champion regarded as the greatest chess player of all time. The other is an 11-year-old schoolboy from Cape Town.
But yesterday nothing could separate Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov and Daniel Barrish of Constantia when they played a match in Khayelitsha.
Daniel was one of 26 players to take on Kasparov during simultaneous chess matches at the OR Tambo Indoor Sports Centre and the youngster emerged with a memorable draw.
Kasparov’s 26 opponents ranged in age from 11 to 39.
He is in town to launch the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa.
President Jacob Zuma is to meet him today, at his official residence in Pretoria.
Zuma is a patron of Moves for Life, a programme introducing chess in education.
Yesterday’s event was aimed at promoting chess in communities and raising the standard of playing.
Hannes Pieterse, Western Cape co-ordinator for Moves for Life, said the emphasis was on education, using chess to teach basic principles in maths, science and literature.
Kasparov said it had been proved that chess could assist in social challenges and “breaking down barriers”.
He said the age of a player did not matter, it was the level at which they played the game that counted. Making an “SA grandmaster” required that more children participated and that there were the resources to sustain the interest.
“It’s all about the numbers, better infrastructure… getting a grand master is about managing the resources.”
Daniel, who ended a three-hour match against the chess champion with a draw, said
: “I’m very happy and actually amazed and overwhelmed because (Kasparov) is my role model.”
Daniel is in Grade 6 at SACS.
He was the SA under-10 champion for three consecutive years, won the all-Africa under-10 title in 2009, and was awarded the title of Fide (World Chess Federation) Master.
He said he started playing chess when he was four. By the age of six, he had won his first tournament, he said.
Daniel prepared by watching Kasparov’s games on computer.
Steward Booysen, 14, of Hill View in Eerste River, was a study in concentration. Self-taught Steward has won two medals for chess in local competitions. He said Kasparov was his idol.
His father, Hendrik, said: “It’s so unbelievable that he used to tell his mother that one day he hoped to play against (Kasparov) and here he is.” - Cape Argus