Friday, 26 December 2014

Grandmaster Kenny Solomon!

Congratulations to Kenny Solomon on becoming a Grandmaster! Kenny achieved this by winning the gold medal at the 2014 African Individual Chess Championships, held recently in Namibia. Kenny scored 7/9 and tied 1st with Egypt's GM Ahmed Adly.

There was some initial confusion as to whether Kenny had qualified for the GM title, as it was announced at the opening ceremony that the event had to be won outright to qualify for the title. FIDE has now confirmed that Kenny won the GM title, given that he had the better tie-breaks.

Here is the press release from Chess SA issued on the 24th December. What a Christmas present!

In previous years the winner of the African Championships got an automatic IM title and a GM norm, but FIDE changed its rules earlier in 2014 to say that the winner of any continental championship would get an automatic GM title. I suspect that Africa will get more GM's in future years because of this rule change.

While on the subject of titles, the first South African to get the correspondence chess GM title was Durban's John Barlow, way back in 2001. The first South African woman to get the WGM title was Melissa Greeff, at the 2009 African womens championship.