The Rise of Grandmaster Kenny Solomon by CM Lyndon Bouah


Kenny first came to the attention of the chess world in 1993, when he started competing at the Western Province Junior Chess Trials.

In 1994 Kenny started to dominate junior and senior events. He won for the first time that year – the SA Under 16 Chess Championships. In 1995 he proceeded to win the WP Open and then the SA Under 18 Junior Chess Championships.

He continued to dominate senior chess and, in 1998, he competed in his first SA Senior Closed Chess Championship. He qualified for selection to the SA Olympiad Team for the first time that year. He played in Elista, Kalmykia on the Russian Steppes.
At the World Olympiad level, Kenny has represented South Africa at the following Olympiads:

1998 : Kalmykia
2000 : Turkey
2002 : Slovenia
2004 : Spain
2006 : Italy
2008 : Germany
2010 : Khanty Mansisyk
2012 : Turkey
2014 : Norway

This is a South Africa record! His Olympiad records reveal that he has played 97 games for South Africa at this level. Kenneth has been playing board one for the last few Olympiads.
Kenneth also played Board one at the All African Games in Nigeria when chess made its debut. He also played at the next All Africa Games held in Algeria.

Kenny has played 7 African Individual Chess Championships, totalling 63 games. He has played 2 x Zone 4.3 Chess Championships, totalling 18 games.
Currently he is close to 200 International Caps for South Africa.

Kenny has been involved in WP Chess since he started actively playing chess in 1993. He played for the Mitchells Plain Chess Club and, with him on board one leading the charge, he secured three WP Chess Club League titles for Mitchells Plain Chess Club.
Kenny loved playing for Western Province. He loved travelling with the guys and was not shy to travel to Port Elizabeth, George, Bloemfontein and anywhere else where he was required to play. He was fondly known as “The General”. The reason for the name was because he always led from the front, as he tended to play all the games without taking a break.

Kenny has been a Fide Trainer since 2005 and has coached many of the top players in the country. He coached far and wide in the Province and travelled to George and Boland on a number of occasions to train players there. He also coached the University of the Western Cape, which has become a formidable team.

Kenny has won the SA Closed Chess Championship in 2003 (with IM Watu Kobese). He also won the SA Open Chess Championship in 1999, 2005, 2007. He finished 2nd in the African Chess Championship in 2003. He attained his International Master title in 2004.
Kenny obtained his first Grandmaster norm at the Padova International Open in Italy in 2011. In 2012 he scored two Grandmaster norms at the 2012 World Olympiad, thus securing his 3 Grandmaster norms.

In April 2014 in Pretoria, Kenny became the first South African to win a Grandmaster event ever. In May 2014 Kenny finished 2nd in the Steinitz Grandmaster event in Cape Town.

In December 2014 Kenneth Solomon won the 2014 African Individual Chess Championship in Namibia, thereby becoming the first South African, 2nd Sub-Saharan African and tenth African to become a Grandmaster.

Acting Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anton Bredell with Grandmaster Kenny Solomon

Chess SA president Eldo Smart handing over Kenny Solomon's Protea blazer

Grandmaster Kenny Solomon in his official South African colours

Kenny Solomon with Cape Metropole Sportsman of the Year Keegan Agulhas

Kenny Solomon with his sponsor Andre Baard

Kenny Solomon with the Chess Junior Proteas

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