chess champs

TWO champion chess sisters from Girvan are this week flying off to eastern Europe to represent their country in the European youth championships.

Cristina, aged 14, and Monica Espinosa, aged 11, are heading for Bulgaria to represent Scotland in the under 14 and under 12 categories in the tournament.

There will be an incredible 1045 competitors from 48 countries descending on the town of Albena from all over Europe.

But that’s not the only big date this year for the sisters, who learned the game from their dad, Jose Miguel, as they are due to represent Scotland at the world championships in Brazil in November.

And last year the well-travelled pair, who are members of Ayr Chess Club, played in tournaments in Australia, France and at the British championships.

Both Cristina and Monica started playing chess at a young age and were encouraged by their father, also a keen chess player.

Cristina is the current Scottish Secondary Schools chess champion in the under 14 category while Monica won the Scottish Primary Schools championships.

The girls said they were looking forward to going to Bulgaria. Cristina said: “Chess is great because you get to know a lot of people and get to travel.

“You also have to work hard on strategy and tactics.”

They are also in discussions with the Scottish Chess Federation about starting up a new chess club right here in Girvan.

But incredibly the girls aren’t the only champions in this talented family. Older brother Miguel is also a Scottish champion while their two-and-a-half-year-old sister, Carolina, has already started to play the game.

And with their supportive family, mum Cristina and dad Jose Miguel, who taught his family to play, these two talented youngsters are the ones to watch in the world of chess.