Charlton Mnyasta, an 18-year-old chess prodigy and grade 12 student at Elsies River High School, Cape Town, has been selected by Chess South Africa to represent the country in three major international tournaments this year.

 Pictured above: Chess champion Charlton Mnyasta

Charlton’s journey in chess began seven years ago. Since then, his dedication and exceptional skill have earned him a prominent place in South African chess. Recently, he scored an impressive 8.5 out of 9 at the South African Junior Chess Championship 2024, securing his place at the World Junior Chess Championship in India next month and the Africa Junior Chess Championships in Egypt in November. 

Beyond these accomplishments, Charlton has made a name for himself locally, securing a joint first-place finish at the Cape Town Open Chess Championship, winning first place at the Steinitz Chess Festival, and achieving fourth place at the South African Closed Chess Championship. These victories have not only established him as a formidable player but have also secured his spot on the South African Men’s team for the Chess Olympiad in Hungary this September.

Charlton’s dedication to chess is evident in his achievements and his aspirations. “I’m thrilled and honoured to represent my country. While I’m able to play the local tournaments within my province, it becomes challenging when I need to participate in inter-provincial and even more so on an international stage as the costs associated with these tournaments are too much,” Charlton told Daily Voice.

Pictured above: Charlton proudly showing off his trophies

The financial burdens of competing internationally are significant. Llewelyn Louw, chairperson of the Blackjacks Chess Club and Development Officer of the Cape Town Chess Federation, has taken up the cause to support Charlton. Louw is currently raising R50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to cover Charlton’s expenses for the championships in India and Egypt.

“I have been part of the chess fraternity for over 25 years, I have seen too many brilliant and talented chess players fall by the wayside and not become professionally recognised chess players because of financial constraints and a lack of funding afforded to this sport,” says Louw. He emphasizes the importance of supporting young talent like Charlton, who has the potential to build a prosperous future through chess if given the necessary financial support. “Charlton has the talent and determination to represent his country in many tournaments around the world but is not able to because financially he is handicapped.”


To support Charlton Mnyasta and help him represent South Africa on the global chess stage, consider contributing to his BackaBuddy campaign: