Our History

Lyndon Lectures Reflections of the past by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

It is now February 2015 and many of you know that I love history. A few years ago I bought loads of the South African Chess Player. I have since discovered that this little green book is indeed a treasure trove of information.

Let’s see what was reported :
We learn that from 5 to 10 January 1975 the Rhodesian International Chess tournament was held with many South Africans in attendance. 90 players were in attendance. Six players tied for first. Peter Aalsberg received the trophy because of his better Bucholtz score. Also with him on 7 was Cockcroft, Glyn, Gannholm, Hilmman and Van Tets.

On 6.5 were the following players : Charles De Villiers, Victor Strugo, Dieter Morschel, Barlow, Eddie Price , Roger Schackis, Fitzgerald, Dreyer, Feyder, Glazier and David Walker.

On 23 January 1975 OudeMeester announced that they would commit between R5000 and R7000 towards the development of chess in South Africa. This was well received by the chess people as one of the aims was that chess would be promoted amongst all sections of the population. This partnership continued for quite a few years. My first recording book which I still have was a brown OudeMeester recording book. At the back you could list your opponents, the opening played , the number of moves and the result! Do we still get recording books of this ilk?

The January 1975 edition also recorded the win of Roger Schackis who at the age of 13 won the 1974 scholars title. 36 competitors competed from 14 to 21 December 1974. Of the top 8 6 were from Southern Transvaal and four from Northview High school.

Earlier this year I received an email from David Jarrett, the former Fide treasurer who visited SA in July 2014. Chessa presented him with the fine book the History of chess in South Africa by Leonard Rietstein. He writes Open Quote. “ I was generously given a book on the history of Chess in South Africa. I collect chess memorabilia and I have just bought a card addressed to GH Eyre in Cape Town in 1895 from Mafeking which has the move in a chess game. The person appears in Mr. Rietsteins book in the match in 1893 between European v Colonial born match. From the information that i have been able to research at this distance, I believe he was the Chief Clerk in the Post Office in Cape Town and later became Post-master General in Southern Rhodesia. This is an interesting example of postal chess in South Africa”. End Quote

Amazing stuff. This is why many of love chess. The ability to connect the dots and also the ability to connect distant people and destinations.

Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

Lyndon Lectures Reflections of the past by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah (2)

Many of you would have received books as presents over the Christmas Period. I need the readers assistance with the following chess records quoted in the SA Book of Records by Lew Leppan
(1999 : Don Nelson Publishers).

1. The Oldest Club is Cape Town Chess Club founded on 1 March 1885. En passant this make the Club 130 years old in three weeks time!
Do we have exact dates for Pretoria, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Rondebosch and other clubs?

2. W. Heidenfeld won the SA chess championships 8 times between 1939 and 1959. Who is close nowadays?
I have Charles on 6 Sa Closed titles and one SA Open?
How many titles does Watu and Kenny have?

3. The first Living Pieces game in SA took place on the Grand Parade between Rondebosch and Cape Town chess clubs on 23 July 1888?
When was the most recent living pieces exhibition?

4. The University of Cape Town student Wayne Berson from Cape Town , aged 20 won the gold medal for chess in Israel in the Maccabi Games in 1981. He was the first South African to do. Do we have definitive records of later participation or earlier?

There are a few more records i will write about next week.
I look forward to hearing from readers on Lyndon.bouah@gmail.com


Candidate master Lyndon Bouah

Reflections (3) by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

I am currently watching India vs South Africa on a Sunday morning live from Australia. Many of you may not know that chess and cricket have a good relationship.

in 1992 when chess unity started in South Africa, a number of us travelled down to Port Elizabeth to compete in the EP Open. The venue was St George’s Park and the tournament was organised by Cricket Umpire Sandy Matthews. Sandy also wrote the local chess column for the EP Herald and was involved for a long time in EP chess.

Wp organised a bus down and we travelled to Port Elizabeth. The drive was fun with many chess games being played without a board. Just about everyone competed in the event. My most enduring memory was the game between Athon Willenberg and Ewan Kromhout. Athon beat Ewan but the game took nearly five hours. The bus wanted to leave for Cape Town already but they were still playing.

One of the things I admired about Sandy Matthews was the fact that within one month of the end of the event all chess players received in the post (yep no email) a copy of all the results (with your name highlighted) with a thank you note and your invitation with the brochure for following years event. That was superb organising and for a long time Cape Town players made the trek to Port Elizabeth over Easter.

In 2005 the SA Closed was held in Cape Town after a long absence. I was in charge of the organising and arranged with Professor Andre Odendaal the use of Newlands cricket grounds media room. The players enjoyed it. Nicholas van Der Nat won his second SA closed and WIM Denise Frick won her first SA closed. We subsequently played there again in 2009.

Professor Odendaal was the CEO of WP cricket and was in the late eighties and nineties a professor of History at the University of the Western Cape. In 1993 he hosted GM Anatoly Karpov at UWC. Karpov enjoyed the visit and he was the second world champion to visit South Africa. GM Max Euwe was of course the first in 1955.

Let’s enjoy the cricket and celebrate our relationship with cricket! Go Proteas!


Advocate Lyndon Bouah

Reflections (4) by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

Over the last week I have received emails and comments on the last columns. Thank you Ian Gilfillian for pointing out that he is maintaining a column on records on Wikipedia. Readers are invited to check the SA chess records. I have already indicated to Ian that I will send him some updates as well.

Bloemfontein chess club was established in 1921. They are planning a centenary so we should support those efforts. Thank you Lochner for your input.

I need some assistance with the following records :

Underwater chess: Yes underwater chess!

Eight students from Potchefstroom university set a record of 34 hours of underwater chess. Working in one hour relays the players (scuba divers) started at 1:30pm on Friday 13 February 1981 and ended at 11:30pm on Saturday 14 February 1981. They played 80 games. ( I’m not sure if they celebrated Valentines day back then!). The players were Sarel van Der Westhuizen, Koos Blomerus, Stephanus van Rensburg, Boats Botha, Henie Aucamp, Willy van Der Westhuizen and Johan Steyn.

It would be great to find out if these guys are still involved in chess. If you know them please ask them to write to me on lyndon.bouah@gmail.com

Simultaneous record :

On a visit to South Africa, H Meuhring of Holland played 56 simultaneous chess games in Johannesburg on 23 July 1955. He won 38, drew 13 and lost five.

What is our current record? When and where was it played?

Blindfold chess ;

Mr Ajax Cameron was reported to have played six boards blindfolded in Cape Town in 1920. Any one have a latest update?

The records were reported in the South African book of records by Lew Leppan published in 1999.


Lyndon Bouah

Happy birthday Cape Town Chess Club !

Dear Elan

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

Reflection 6 by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

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Reflection 7 by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

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Reflection 8 by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

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Reflection 9 by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah
History was made at the GM Kenny Solomon recognition ceremony by Adv Lyndon Bouah

Monday 23 February 2015 will go down in History as the day Grandmaster Kenny Solomon was honoured by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape.

The evening started with a PowerPoint presentation the journey of a grandmaster which is attached hereto. This was presented by the Master of ceremonies Advocate lyndon. Bouah, Chief Director of sport and recreation in the department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, represented by the acting Minister for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Minister Anton Bredell, praised Grandmaster Kenny Solomon and thanked him for being an inspiration and a beacon of hope for the youth of South Africa and the Western Cape.

Mr. Eldo Smart spoke about the contribution that Grandmaster Kenny Solomon is making to chess in South Africa. He noted that whenever Kenny played he will be playing as an ambassador for South Africa. Mr Smart officially handed Kenny his very own Protea Blazer.

Kenny thanked his family for supporting him, his sponsors and regaled the audience with his life story. It was fantastic to hear about his heroes, how he started playing and what it meant for him. He indicated that in 1998 he saw his wife for the first time at an Olympiad and immediately blundered a pawn away. When he looked at her the second time he immediately blundered a second pawn!

After a sumptuous three course meal, photos were taken of all the guests were taken with grandmaster Kenny. The photos are very historical.one of the photos shows five Chessa Presidents

Professor Berte Van Wyk ( 1992-1994) who was the key architect of unity in South African chess, Mr Andre Van Reeenen (2001-2003), Advocate Lyndon Bouah ( 2003-2005), Mrs Emelia Ellappen ( 2007-2014), Mr. Eldo Smart ( 2015-).

A photo was also taken of all the Western Province Presidents.

Mr Andre van Reenen ( 1997-1998), Mr Roland Wilenberg ( 1998-1999), Advocate lyndon Bouah ( 2000-2005, 2006-2010), Mr Warren Rossitter (2005-2006), Mr Eldo Smart ( 2010-2012), International Master David Gluckman (2012-2014), Dr Deon Solomons ( 2014-)

Grandmaster Kenny Solomon mentioned in his speech that he was inspired by the 1992 Olympiad team that flew to Manila to compete in that first Olympiad. The members who flew in that team ( except for Charles) all attended the event and took a picture with Kenny. The players in that team were Dr. Deon Solomons, IM David Gluckman, FM Charles de Villiers, Adv Lyndon Bouah and Adv. Maxwell Solomon.

Enjoy the photos and spot all the celebrity chess players! See Kenny Solomon gallery.


Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

Reflection 10 by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

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Lyndon lectures : Reflections (11) Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

The first week of March is always a difficult week for me. Both my parents passed away in different years in the first week of March. This year was the twentieth anniversary of my fathers death.

Earlier last week I was reading the newspaper and my eye caught an article that Mr. Johnny Daniels passed away at the age of eight nine. I met Mr. Daniels when I attended a rugby function at the City and Suburban rugby stadium last year. He made an uninterrupted speech for 15 minutes. He mesmerised the audience with his knowledge about the stimulus and Western Province rugby. He regaled us with stories about the past. The memories were very clear and he spoke without notes.

One of the important things that he said was that many stadiums were in fact not only built because of they Group Areas Act but because of the Education Act. The present City and Suburban Park was built because St George’s grammar school and Rhodes High was built on those grounds.

Mr. Daniels served on the WPRU for many years and was the first treasurer in the unified rugby structure. He was an old school administrator who cherished the ideals of accountability, responsibility and integrity. Everyone in the rugby fraternity I spoke to this week held him in high regard.

Mr Daniels may your soul rest in peace. On behalf of everyone in the chess community I express my deep felt condolences to Rene Darling, the daughter of Mr Daniels , his son in law Paul, and his grandchildren, Paul jnr, Simeon and Tiffany. A big tree has fallen but his roots will nourish the earth forever.

Hamba Kahle Mr. Daniels.

Lyndon Bouah

Lyndon Lectures – Reflections (12) by Candidate Master lyndon Bouah

Tips for coaches and players

The SAJCC will commence in the first week of April. The event has eleven rounds in each section and is played over a period of one week. I offer the following tips for coaches and players.

1. Set goals.
This is very important because you need to know what you are playing for. If you wish to win your section then your preparation should be in high gear now. If you are only now starting to prepare then you should set realistic goals. In athletics they talk about personal best (PB). You can also set a PB for you. Perhaps you scored fifty percent last year. This year you may be aiming for sixty percent.

2. Don’t underestimate the opposition.
Many juniors have a great growth spurt in their teens. We often talk about players whose rating has not caught up with their understanding. These players have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The players that are in this event deserve to be there. Treat each opponent with the necessary respect and your result will sort itself out. You don’t get extra points for the quickest win. Play decently and respect your opponent no matter the rating or where he or she comes from.

3. Get enough rest prior to the event.
To play good chess you must be fresh. If you get to the event tired and exhausted your play will suffer. You need to factor in travel fatigue, peer pressure and preparation.

4. Be fit and healthy
It is also important to get exercise and to be healthy. If you do not get exercise, start now with a brisk walk each day and ensure that you take any medication to remedy any flu or any other symptoms. Remember the excuse ” I wasn’t feeling well that’s why I lost” . This mustn’t be you. GM Judith Polgar once said she never beat a healthy male opponent! Take the dogs for a walk.

5. Preparation
You cannot win an event if you do not prepare. Use the existing chess engines and ensure that you have one loaded into your laptop. You must download the latest games played internationally. This week in chess (twic) has all the events from around the world every week. Download it and save it. If you know who your opponents will be check their latest games so that you can prepare the openings they play.

6. Tactics
Many games are decided by tactics at junior levels. Sometimes it’s silly tactics but once you start looking at tactical possibilities in every position you will soon find them. I suggest that you do between ten and twenty puzzles each day to sharpen your mind.

7. Annotated games
I probably learnt the most from playing through annotated games of grandmasters and world champions in particular. Many annotated games are found on Chessbase, most websites and of course in books! Yes books still exist. Use them.

8. Absorbing a loss
Everyone in the event stands a chance to lose to anyone. The best in the country will be competing. The winning margin in these events are usually about 9.5/11 or ten/11. What is important is to recover quickly from a loss. you cannot dwell on a loss or a spilt pawn because the next game will be upon you. Champions recover from a loss quickly and get on with the show. Acknowledge the loss. Shake your opponents hand, accept the defeat graciously and when you win, do it with humility.

9. Understand draws
There are many positions that are known draws. GM Kenny Solomon often told me : make life difficult for your opponent even if you are on the receiving end. If you a piece down, exchange pawns because one piece cannot win on its own.

Check if the queening square has the correct bishop if it is rook pawn.

Check for stalemate possibilities.

Know the various endgame positions that may arise. A knowledge of known endgame positions may save you a crucial half point.

10. Time trouble.
Coaches and players must know how to handle time trouble. Even with increment players still get into time trouble. I have learnt the hard way that even if your opponent is in severe time trouble and you have enough time don’t blitz him or her. He will then draw you into his time trouble and you end up making the mistake!

Enjoy the preparation


Lyndon Bouah

Lyndon lectures – Reflections (13) by Lyndon Bouah

So there you are as an administrator you have been requested to make a speech about chess. Well the first thing is of course to find some quotes. I have listed ten quotes here from world champions that can be found in most books. I have used the book ” The complete chess addict by Mike Fox and Richard James (Faber, 1987. London) as my guide.

1. Chess is life – Bobby Fischer

2. Chess is like life – Boris Spassky

3. Chess is life in militia true. Chess is struggle, chess is battles – Kasparov

4. Chess is the art of analysis – Mikhail Botvinnik

5. Chess is not only knowledge and logic – Alexander Alekhine

6. Chess is everything -art, science and sport – Anatoly Karpov

7. Chess is not for timid souls – Wilhelm Steinitz

8. Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic – Mikhail Botvinnik

9. Chess is an art – Gary Kasparov

10. Chess is undoubtedly the same sort of art as painting or sculpture – Capablanca

Lyndon lectures – Reflections (15) by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

Every year in March the various ministers deliver their budget speeches in the various provincial parliaments and in the national parliament. On Thursday 26 March 2015 Minister Theuns Botha delivered the Budget Speech for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. Minister Botha used as his central theme the game of chess. I quote from his speech which can be downloaded on the provincial government website.

He said “Our Government’s game changer strategy can be compared to the strategy game that many of us know-chess. You can only checkmate your opponent if you have a better plan of action. Great strategic moves require a careful strategy and plans which support its aim to reach the final victory. The game requires mental and physical tenacity. Playing chess greatly improves the mind’s ability to develop a strategic approach and the best plan of action for every daily task.”

He ended “As a government and as a Department we need to bring about measurable change in the lives of people who depend on our facilities and our services. To move to checkmate I will need to support of my Department and stakeholders and role players from the private sector towards our common goal of opportunities for all our people.”

The achievement of Kenny Solomon in becoming a Grandmaster was also acknowledged in the Premier’s State of the Province Speech in February 2015.
It is a healthy reflection on the code of chess that chess is used as a metaphor in speeches.

Lyndon lectures – Reflections (16) by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

Over the last few years there has been an explosion of movies with a chess related theme. In South Africa and around the world the movie, Four Corners, is still garnering awards around the globe. It chronicles the tale of a young chess player who has to choose between gangsterism and chess on the Caoe Flats. Carte Blanche used extracts from the movie recently when they featured GM Kenny Solomons.

The latest movie with a chess theme appears to be one starring the Mexican-Kenyan Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyongo as the New Age newspaper describes her (1April 2015 : p24). The newspaper describes the movie as a ” Disney production, directed by Mira Nair, is a biopic looking at chess coach Robert Katende and his star pupil, Phiona Mutesi, who grew up in Kampala’s Katwe slum and went on to become the national champion of Uganda.” I shall look forward to this movie.

in February I attended a production at Settlers High School entitled Hotel Pringlevania adapted and written by Megan van Niekerk and a classmate. I enjoyed it tremendously and one can see that art and chess certainly goes together. I shall await your further productions Megan.

I also recently found out that the writer of Game of Thrones George RR Martin is in fact a qualified arbiter. In the boon following Fischer’s victory in 1972 he wrote books in the week and for three years he acted as an arbiter professionally. Now we know Gunther has many talents so c’mon Gunther how about a SA game of thrones!

Enjoy the working week!



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