As I am returning to work tomorrow I thought it prudent to reflect on my visit to Kimberley in the first week of January this year.
Boy no one told us it would be that hot. I did not realise the weather would be that hot. I actually think it may have had an effect in the latter rounds of the day. However as GM Kenny Solomon often told me all players are subject to the same conditions!
The team event was once again a joy to behold for chess development. Chess players from all over our diverse country coming together to participate in our noble game. I enjoyed the fact that we were playing next to the Big Hole. The fact that our game can be played anywhere in the country shows our reach and depth. Polokwane, Mbombela, Northwest perhaps it is time you think about hosting this event?
The games were of an uneven nature. Pieces were being dropped even in the older sections and it is something we must reflect on. We cannot have players in the under twenties still dropping pieces in the first ten moves. Consideration must be given by Chessa to perhaps send coaches to areas where the chess community is not that strong.
We must start discussing junior chess seriously. In the last few years we have not had many exceptionally strong players coming through our junior ranks. We need youngsters to knock on the door of the SA closed championship and Olympiad teams. There are a numbers of juniors that should be talent identified and nurtured.
Hopefully the high performance plan that has been accepted by the Chessa general council will assist us in this regard. We have many titled players but their understanding of key positions is still lacking which will propel them to the next level.
I competed as the WP B team captain in the Inter Union. This is an event I enjoy very much. You see old friends you haven’t seen for years. One player in the Northern Cape team is called Karpov Plaatjies. Karpov showed us his Steinitz t shirt which he still has after all these years.
I first competed in the event in 1998 on behalf of Eastern Province and since 2000 for WP. Well done Tshwane. Their first two boards were massive and well done to IM Daniel Cawdrey and IM Mabusela who led your team to victory. Corno and Justin brought up the rear. Jaco thank you for making it interesting as we were always following your games!
I want to pay a special tribute to Justin and his team. On the Friday he generously allowed the big game against WP to start later to allow Dr Bhawoodien to attend mosque. These are the gestures of champions. Thank you. I also thank Mpho Mashope from Northern Cape who started his individual game fifteen minutes later against Mohammed Bhawoodien for the same reason.
Jessie February showed that she is far stronger than her 1652 rating suggests. She drew with Kenny Willenberg who will admit freely he was lucky and then she proceeded to beat FM Shabier Bhawoodien. Jessie needs to push herself and I am sure she will challenge for an Olympiad spot one day.
In the B section the WP boys team demolished all before them and even disposed of their coaches as well. It was really a fantastic gesture from WP to register five teams. The young girls team also enjoyed their outing and I urge all teams to register youth and women teams as well for this competition. Well done Paul Darling for leading your team to victory.
The full results are available on the website. Thank you everyone including the arbiters for making the Inter Union a success. Let’s build on the event. Justin you and your team are now champions. We look forward to competing with you in December / January later this year. For the record the results for the inter union are as follows :
1998 : Gauteng East
1999 : Gauteng East
2001 : no event held
2002 : WP
2006 : WP
2008 : WP
2009 : WP
2011 : Eastern Province
2012 : WP
2013 : Johannesburg Metro
2014 : Tshwane
See you later in the year.