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Little Turkish chess master aims for European Championships medal

Kumsal Işlek, who clinched the third spot in Türkiye a year ago in chess, continues her quest for success as she eyes a medal at the European Schools Championship.

Discovering her talent a year ago while playing chess at school, Işlek was directed toward the sport by her coach, Ceylan Aslan.

With daily training sessions under her coach’s guidance, Işlek secured third place in her category at the 2024 Türkiye Youth and Junior Chess Championship held in Antalya last month, earning herself a bronze medal and a spot in the national team.

The youngest participant at the championship, Işlek is now preparing for the European Schools Chess Championship scheduled for June 8 in Ireland, aiming to return home with yet another medal.

Expressing her love for chess, Işlek told Anadolu Agency (AA) that her success in Antalya motivated her greatly.

“I worked hard for the championship about three to four months before. I learned chess voluntarily because I loved it. Then, with my teacher’s guidance at school, I continued as a player. It was great to be third in Antalya. Even if I didn’t place at the Türkiye Championship, earning a spot in the national team was enough for me. I was even happier when I got third place. From now on, I want to become a European and world champion,” Işlek said.

Coach and chess referee Ceylan Aslan expressed that her confidence in Işlek was reaffirmed during the Antalya championship.

Highlighting the challenging nature of the championship in Antalya, Aslan said: “I was expecting her to make it to the national team. It really helped Kumsal to develop. The championship was a crucial experience for her. She is a very disciplined athlete and did her best there.”

Aslan mentioned that her athlete who made it to the national team has also earned the right to participate in this year’s world championship.

Anticipating further success from Kumsal, Aslan stated: “As long as she continues to work in this manner, I expect her to achieve world and European championships. She has developed very quickly in a short time. We will continue our intense training to ensure she returns with medals from the championships she participates in.”

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