One hundred years lady becomes Chess sensation
At the age of 100, an inhabitant from Itanhaém, coast town of the São Paulo estate, is practically a chess expert. She takes part on regional tournaments all over SP and says that the game gives her more disposition to keep living on.
Naturally born at the capital, Vicentina Silva Iglesias was registered on September 24th, 1914, which was a bit more than a year after her birthday. Raised by adoptive parents, she lived good part of her life at São Paulo (capital city of its homonymous estate) and, when around 54 years old, met the game of Chess. "My husband was the one who teached me. Then he lost to me and quit playing", said her.
Val and Vicentina in the living room (Photo: Mariane Rossi/G1)
Vicentina's husband died in 2007, but left her a legacy in chess knowledge. At that time, her caregiver Valdinete da Silva Almeida, aka 'Val', was already living with the couple and searched for some way to ease Vicentina's pain that came with the loss of her dearly beloved. "I went searching for things to occupy her time and bring her back to joy. That's when I found a chess teacher", tells the caregiver. Vicentina then started to take weekly lessons on her favorite game. The widow's effort on learning Chess has brought to many an amaze, therefore leading her to register in many regional tournaments.
The good lady started to travel all around SP to play on the tournaments and soon began to collect medals and trophies from her wins. "I even went onto far away country towns and won", she says, always accompanied of her loyal caregiver (and perhaps also a chess squire) Val.
The carer relates that Vicentina would take on any challenger, regardless of strenght, renown or age. "Sometimes there were about two thousand people registered and, amidst them, she was the oldest", tells us.
Medals & trophies from tournaments (Photo: Mariane Rossi/G1)
Besides from the chess table, Vicentina's living room has another special spot. Her "Lil' Chess Corner" holds more than fifteen chess medals, as well as the trophies the elder has conquered in regional tournaments and also in competitions of games for the elderly, both held all throughout the estate of São Paulo.
Vicentina and Igor playing chess (Photo: Mariane Rossi/G1)
To Vicentina, chess is ageless. The game demands focus and practice but, according to her, there's no big mistery. "Chess is all about the time you've been playing and practicing", affirms her. Hence she desires to transmit her knowledge on the game to the youthful. She teaches her caregiver's children to play chess ever since they were pretty young. "Vitoria was 3 when she first started teaching her", tells Val. Igor, 16, is one frequent opponent of the good lady. "He's smart. I'm still beating him up but he might easily score some wins at the tourneys", says Vicentina, always with a smile on her face.
Despite her experience and rewards, she keeps training to other championships. Val relates that she always signs Vicentina into competitions so that she doesn't stop playing and keeps her mind active. Furthermore, at least once a week, a friend she knew through playing Chess pays her a visit to have some good-goody challenge. Be there an opponent, even if it's everyday, she'll always march upfront and be ready for a fight. "Whenever volunteers arise, I'll face them. I love chess! If I could, I'd play all day long", says the centenarian chess player.
Vicentina focused during a chess match (Photo: Mariane Rossi/G1)