Happy birthday Cape Town Chess Club !
Today is 1 March 2015 and on this day history records that Cape Town chess club was founded in 1885. This makes you the oldest chess club in the country and the second oldest in the Southern Hemisphere. I believe Melbourne chess club is the oldest.
Cape Town chess club has a very rich history. We know that in 1892 Cape Town chess club organised the first South African Open. Well done. Every day on my way to work I drive past the building in Burg street and during lunchtime I go buy food there where the first open was played.
I also know that Cape Town won the first WP league in 1907. Even in the modern era Cape Town continued to play hard and also won the title.
It was always a massive game playing against Cape Town. Cape Town was blessed with the likes of IM David Gluckman, his brother Jonathan, Mark Levitt and a host of other top players. These days I notice there are some youngsters thrown in amongst the old guard.
My first experience of Cape Town Chess Club was on 27 August 1991. Professor Berte van Wyk had initiated the first unity match. The match took place at Bellville South Library on a Saturday afternoon. Cape Town brought their best and clobbered the combined Bellville -South/ UWC team 11-1. History records that a certain Lyndon Bouah beat Charles de Villiers in a Benko Gambit that afternoon.
I notice from Leonard Rietstein’s book that the history of South African chess is inextricable linked to the history of Cape Town chess club. You have provided presidents for the region, for the country and champions of the region and country.
Elan, your resilience as a chess club is an example to all of us. You have kept the doors open to all who wished to play. In the last few years Cape Town chess club became a home to many players from foreign lands who found themselves residing in Cape Town. You took them in with genuine appreciation.
Élan, let’s celebrate the achievement of becoming 130 years young. Lets organise an event that showcases your history and celebrates your heritage which is also our heritage.
Cape Town Chess Club take a bow. You deserve it.
Viva Cape Town Chess Club! Viva! Long live Cape Town Chess Club, long live!
Advocate Lyndon Bouah