Personality of the week – Lishen Mentile: Improving life one checkmate at a time
Date of Birth: November 27, 1996
Place of birth: Windhoek
Nickname: I really don’t have any
Current club: Fianchetto Chess Club
Previous club: Zandell Chess Academy
What are your professional achievements? 2010 Blitz Chess Champion Under 14 (Best Woman, 2010 Blitz Chess Champion Under 14 (2nd Place), 2011 Blitz Chess Champion Under 16 (3rd Place), 2012 Blitz Chess Champion Under 16 (Best Woman and Best Overall Prize), 2013 Blitz Chess Under-10 Champion (2nd place), 2007 Namibian National Junior Chess Under-12 Champion (1st place), 2011 Kehat Beukus Memorial Chess Tournament (Best Woman), Namibia Junior Chess Champion 2015 ( 2nd place), 2017 Women’s Chess Challenge (second place), 2018 Namibia Open Woman (2nd place), Chess Champion Independence Blitz 2018 (Best Woman), four times National Chess Champion in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Chess representative for the national team at the World Chess Olympics in 2012 (Turkey, Istanbul), 2016 (Azerbaijan, Baku) and 2018 (Georgia, Batumi) National representative at the World Junior Chess Championships in Slovenia.
Which game do you think was your most memorable? It was during the 2012 World Chess Olympics against the Woman Fide Masters (WFM) of Malta.
What is the highest honor you have achieved in chess? Obtaining my title of female master candidate (WCM) at the 2018 World Chess Olympics in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Which Namibian player do you like to play the most? Jolly-Joice Nepando, she’s amazing.
Who are some of your favorite local or international chess players? He is the great Norwegian chess master Magnus Clarsen.
Other than chess, what would you say is your other passion or obsession? I like to paint.
If not in chess, what other sporting career would you have chosen? It would have been Golf.
What do you think are some of your biggest disappointments in your career? I think missing my first title (female master candidate) by 1/2 point at the World Chess Olympics in 2012 would probably be my biggest disappointment in my career.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career? To be completely honest, ever since I started playing chess, the biggest influence on my career has always been myself. I always believed that I could be the best at it and that in itself kept me going until I got to where I am right now.
Would you say the sport of chess is as important as it should be in Namibia? No not right now. It is not as recognized and exposed as other sport codes in Namibia. But having recently taken a step into coaching, I firmly believe and hope that we will help make it the next big thing in the near future.
From a development perspective, what do you think it would take for local failures to reach their peak? We must introduce chess in many schools and make it a priority sport like all the others like football, rugby, netball; etc. Many people in our country still don’t see chess as a âsportâ because they don’t see where competitiveness comes in and they don’t have enough knowledge about chess. It is also quite difficult to get the local population to invest in sport. More needs to be done in these areas, in particular by promoting it at school and community level.
Your career remains on a solid rise and you are one of the outstanding figures of local chess; tell us a bit about your background? My journey began at a young age in our neighborhood of Wanaheda where I grew up. I always used to watch the older guys playing chess on the street right outside our house, over time I was mesmerized by the way they played and the sequence of moves they used to each part. I immediately aroused my interest and told my parents. In 2002, I joined my first chess club at Eros Primary School, where I was attending at the time. I have since played chess competitively and then joined Zandell Chess Academy in 2005, where I then expanded my chess knowledge and gained greater exposure by playing in various major tournaments. I have improved a lot over the years and started winning tournaments and been selected to represent my country.
How has chess changed your life as a player and on a personal level? Chess has changed my life in many ways. It has taught me to see life differently, it has taught me to be more disciplined, it has taught me to appreciate and use wisely every resource and opportunity that is offered to me in life. It also taught me to create opportunities for myself, it taught me to be more of a strategic and analytical thinker. Chess itself is life for me.
You started the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad on a positive note, before being eliminated in the third round (Division 3). What do you think went wrong? Personally the team spirit was high throughout, and as a team we really fought hard and did our best. I think the only problem is that we have been placed in a group of countries where the chess skills are much higher and greater than ours. They had better exposure and a better experience than us because most of these players are from countries where chess is studied and is a great profession where people make a lot of money. For us here in Namibia, most people have other professions besides chess, which does not allow them to focus and devote all of their time to improving their game.
What are you most grateful for in your life right now? I am very grateful for my family and for still being able to be here on earth. With the unexpected wave of Covid-19 that has hit us since last year, anything could have happened during this time, but today I say thank you to God for just living to see another day.
Your ambitions for this year and beyond? My ambitions for 2021 and beyond are to personally improve my chess skills, and as a coach I want to develop the sport and make sure it reaches the school system as the sport of choice for the youngster. generation.
What do you do to relax after a long day? I listen to a lot of music or watch series, otherwise, I’ll paint.
What’s the one thing that pisses you off? Dancing
What’s your favorite motivational quote? “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw