By Lama Choedak
BY EMAIL, 6 June 2012
Eleven years ago when Emma Dolma Yuthok learnt to play chess from her brother Sherab, she had no idea that it would take her to great heights of fame, with travel to many countries, and finally to Turkey to represent Australia in a Chess Olympiad.
The chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete. The 1st Olympiad took place in Paris in 1924.
Brother Sherab, who learnt both meditation and chess from his father Lama Choedak Rinpoche, had won against a chess grand master. Emma’s younger brother Jamie also plays chess.
Emma’s chess-playing career has gone from strength to strength with mentoring from Peter Simpson and support from her mother. Emma Dolma has competed at many international chess tournaments, and she represented Australia at the Chess Olympiad in Russia when she was 15 years old. At that time she was the youngest member of the Australian team.
Since then Canberra chess prodigy Emma Dolma has competed at international events in Argentina, Brazil, China, Malaysia, India, Russia, Singapore, Poland, and New Zealand. She travels around the world at least twice a year, and at least once a month around Australia.
In an interview with Canberra Times The Chronicle (May 15 2012), Emma said, “I like the adrenalin rush that I get when I play. If I am about to play a move that I think is going to work or not going to work I get a bit shaky — I like that feeling. I am hoping to improve my rating and hopefully become a grand master.” Emma has played chess games that have gone on for up to six hours — draining her mentally and physically. She said “It is pretty exhausting. I play soccer and I find it a lot more exhausting than playing a soccer game. It’s also harder than doing exam. Chess also helps me to concentrate and during tests I can concentrate for a period of time without getting distracted.”
In December 2011, Emma Dolma achieved the rank of Women’s International Master, where she came first at the Oceania Women’s Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Now the 17-year-old college student has been selected as one of five on the women’s team to represent Australia at the Chess Olympiad to be held in Turkey in August this year. This is the first time that a Tibetan girl will compete at the Chess Olympiad as an International Women’s Master and represent Australia.