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Marsel Efroimaski, a 12-year-old from Kfar Saba, is the new world chess champion for girls 12 and under.
She won the title after eight rounds of play at the 2007 World Youth Chess Championships held this week in Antalya, Turkey.
Efroimaski, who returned to Israel on Thursday, is still trying to grasp her huge victory.
"At the moment I knew I got first place, it was exciting and confusing and it was hard to believe that I had won," Marsel told The Jerusalem Post. "I was overtaken by emotion."
Although she came into the tournament ranked tenth in her class, Efroimski was undefeated in the first 9 rounds of 11, securing her win in the eighth round of the tournament. Her eighth win was against Dinara Saduakaskova, a competitor from Kazakhstan.
Round ten presented Efroimski with her hardest challenge, and she lost her first game of the tournament. In the eleventh round, Efroimski negotiated a draw, knowing that she had already secured first place. She ended the tournament with an astounding 9.5 points out of a possible 11.
The young chess champion started to play after-school chess when she was eight. She continued to play in the Kfar Saba chess club, and now plays in Ashdod.
"We are very proud of Marsel and see this as one of the two most important wins in Israeli chess history," said Yigal Lotan, director of the Israel Chess Federation.
Lotan highlighted the importance of Efroimaski's victory in relation to a number of youth chess workshops that the Israel Chess Federation has set up over the past few years, one of which Efroimaski participated in. "We hope that this will bring more kids into chess," he said.
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