The months of April and May 2017 is a real boom for chess across the country.
During April the South African Junior Closed chess championship was held in Gauteng. The representatives for the various FIDE and African events have been decided and we wish them well.
Steinitz Chess Club who is arguably one of South Africa’s best chess clubs, having won the national championship on numerous occasions, convened the 40th anniversary International Open in Cape Town. Grandmaster Grover won the event quite easily. Well done Steinitz!
The Johannesburg Metro organised the PSS Rapid and Blitz event in Johannesburg at Marks Park. The venue was really a good one. I participated in the Rapid and found the going gruelling but I liked the idea of a rapid.
While we were playing in Johannesburg, IM Daniel Cawdery and IM Mohammed Henry Steel were competing in China in the first Bricschess Masters event. Our South African representatives found the going tough but Mohammed Steel can be pleased with his three draws. He drew with the two highly rated Chinese grandmasters. The event was interesting because politically Brics consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Each country sent two players with all the other countries sending grandmasters while South Africa sent their two highest rated players. Let’s hope that this event will be organised again next year as it provided great exposure for our players. Check these names with ratings:
1. GM Yu Yanghi. – China 2791
2. GM Li Chao B. – China 2702
3. GM Motylev Alexander – Russia 2657
4. GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar – India 2650
5. GM Potkin Vladimir – Russia -2644
6. GM Leitao Rafael – Brazil – 2637
7. GM Sethuraman S.P. – India 2546
8. GM Fier Alexandr Brazil – 2538
9. IM Daniel Cawdery – South Africa 2436
10. IM Henry ( Mohammed) Steel – South Africa 2414
I would venture to say that this was probably the strongest round robin (or possibly any tournament) that a South African player has ever played in. The players in the list have won European individual titles as well as Indian and Brazilian national Championships. It has always been said that before you can beat a grandmaster you must be able to draw with a grandmaster. IM Steel has shown that in this event. IM Cawdery has shown he can draw (and beat grandmasters ) grandmasters in his previous events. Our two representatives ended last with Steel scoring 1.5/9 whilst Cawdery scored 0.5/9.
On Wednesday 26 April the Capablanca chess championship commenced in Pretoria. The event has three grandmasters headed by GM Amonotov (Tajikistan) 2632, GM Grover from India 2473, Grandmaster Sriram from India on 2396. IM Daniel Jere from Zambia 2384, IM Makoto 2378 and Spencer Masongo 2232 is playing from Zimbabwe whilst South Africa is represented by Daniel Barrish 2252 and FM Calvin Klaasen 2276. Let’s support the event as for the fourth time is as many weeks South Africans have an opportunity to participate against grandmasters in an event. Go Calvin and Daniel!
On 27 April the KZN Chess Open will be held at Northlands Primary School. It will be a seven round 90/90. The prize money is in the vicinity of R10 000,00. It looks like a good event and I am told that players travel from Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth to compete. Perhaps next year KZN should invite some top players as well! It would actually be great to have a circuit of events in April because we could start with Steinitz Open, continue to an EP Open and then a KZN Open and end with Capablanca. This will allow travelling players and grandmasters nearly four events to travel to and organisers could share costs of the top players.
The Durban High school will be hosting a Rapid Chess Cup on Saturday 6 May 2017. The event will be a one day event with seven rounds played and a total prize fund of R2500.
At the same time Mitchell’s Plain chess club will be hosting an event in Mitchell’s Plain with a prize fund of R7500. The event is a 60/60 six round event so please go support the event. It is great that the chess club is organising the event.
An exciting event that will be taking place in Johannesburg from 5-7 May will be the Arnold Classic that will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre. Chess will be one of 70 codes of sport that will be showcased at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic who will be visiting as well. The event also serves as the Closed chess championship for the Gauteng region. The representatives here will be representing Gauteng at the SA Closed in December 2017.
Curro Nelspruit and Ehlanzeni will be hosting the Trac/ Curro 60/60 five round Swiss. ( it is a pity that it is only five rounds as you need six rounds to be taken into account for the Grand Prix). So chess is active all over and these are just the events I have knowledge of.
Cape Town chess club has released a Heritage Booklet celebrating their event. They celebrated 132 years of club chess. Do have a read. The Leonard Rietstein Memorial Lecture had some great presentations. It can be found on www.chessa.co.za and www.chesswesternprovince.co.za
Last weekend the PSS Blitz event was hosted in Johannesburg and there were many surprises! In particular I was informed that young Keith Khumalo did extremely well in the Blitz. With a rating of 1882 and seeded 32nd out of 42 players, he walked away with the bronze medal and scored 7/10 in a field with an average of 2033. Apart from the 4×2100 plus scalps he took, he also beat IM Ryan Van Rensburg ( 2257) and GM Sahaj Grover ( 2539). Rumours now abound that Khumalo is now called Keithonsky Khumalo!
On 20 May 2017 the Elsies River chess club will be hosting a rapid in Elsies River. It has some good prize money and all is welcome to play.
Enjoy following the events on www.chess-results.com and chess24.com and the various websites of the provinces.
Enjoy the long weekend.
Dr Lyndon Bouah