Saturday, 28 February 2015

Chess SA seeks managers and coaches

We have just received the following documents from Marcelle Agulhas, the General Secretary of Chess South Africa. The closing date for all applications is Sunday 15th March.

1.  2015 Team Managers Application Form for International Tournaments.
2.  2015 Team Coaches Application Form for International Tournaments.

The documents contain a list of ten international events in 2015 where South African chess players can be expected to participate. This is an astonishing number of events when you consider that Chess SA is currently in arrears with FIDE. Some amounts have allegedly been outstanding since 2011.

In early December 2014, FIDE published a notice that Federations more than 6 months in arrears would have services suspended and players from those Federations would not be able to take part in any FIDE rated events. FIDE then published the names of the Federations affected on its website:

Federations in Arrears   
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 09:36
official logo
In accordance with decisions of Presidential Board in Sochi, FIDE publishes the list of Federation in Arrears.

Until the arrears have been paid off, players from these Federations cannot participate in any FIDE events that are under the aegis of
a) the World Championship & Olympiad Commission or Events Commission,
b) Continental competitions that provide qualifiers to any of the aforesaid competitions.

The list will be regularly updated.

(South Africa was one of the countries listed.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Trainee arbiters workshop

A workshop for trainee arbiters and organisers took place from 6th to 8th February at Coastlands Durban. It was organised by KZNCA president Sandile Xulu who invited 2 representatives from each of the 11 districts within KZN province. The chief trainer was Rudolf Willemse, who was assisted by Keith Rust. An intensive course in the Laws of Chess started on Friday afternoon, with the basic laws and a discussion on the conduct of the players and the role of the arbiter. On Saturday we completed the competition rules and looked at how the rules differed for rapid play and blitz. After which it was time to install the Swiss Arbiter pairings software and try out some Swiss pairings for a small tournament. Then we learnt how to do round-robin pairings and how to calculate rating changes. Phew! it was a long day. Then on Sunday, it was the dreaded exam, which lasted for 3 hours.

The chief trainer was Rudolf Willemse (from Johannesburg),
pictured here next to one of the new KZN Chess Association banners
Listening to Rudolf on the Laws of Chess
Keith Rust explains increments using his DGT digital clock
How does this Swiss Arbiter program work?
Bongani Mkhunya shows the pairings software on his computer
A team photo, showing off the new KZNCA golf shirts
Taking notes on how to do round robin pairings
Rudolf Willemse, Sandile Xulu and Keith Rust
Taking the final exam on Sunday morning
Sandile Xulu after a successful workshop is completed
Congratulations to Mbongeni Sithole who qualified as a Tournament Supervisor and to the following people who qualified as School Supervisors - Lulama Qobo, Lulama Nqubuka, Nkosinathi Masuku, Eugene Bernard, Cyril Thanda Danisa and Welcome Gwamanda.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

SA Junior Closed announced

We have just received the following news via email from Warren Ahjum, the interim Secretary of the Chess SA Youth Commission:

"We are proud to confirm, herewith, the selection of players from your region to participate in the South African Junior Closed Chess Championships 2015 (SAJCCC 2015). The SAJCCC 2015 will be hosted in Tshwane, at the Waterkloof High School, from the 3rd to the 11th of April 2015. 
Kindly take note that it is the responsibility of the Region to inform each player of his/her selection and their subsequent registration for the Championship. Registration should be done online at

Attached please find the
 list of players from your region who qualified for the Championship and the SAJCCC 2015 circularcontaining important information about the event.

We would like to congratulate the Region on the selection of the players and wish them a successful tournament. For any information regarding the SAJCCC 2015 please do not hesitate to contact the Local Organising Committee."

Please contact Kevin Chetty in the event of any errors, omissions or queries.
PS. here is an amended list of KZN players as at 23rd February.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Games from Kimberley 2015

Capturing games at the SA Junior Chess Championships held in Kimberley in January 2015 was a mammoth task. In the end about 2700 games were captured - all the games from the Championship sections of the teams event (about 1700 games) plus selected games from the Wild Card and all the games from the Inter-Regional. The game capturers faced an unenviable job, since many players were unable to notate clearly throughout their games.

The organisers supplied PGN game files for each round on their website. These raw PGN files needed a lot of editing! After what seemed like weeks spent retyping player names (some names had 5 different spellings/variations), the next step was to find out and enter the age group sections (as these were omitted from the raw PGN file). I then had a working file on ChessBase and inputted the player ratings. After getting all the official results from the pairings software (one advantage of being an arbiter) I then looked for incorrect results (where a result differed from that on the team sheets). In a few cases I was surprised to find the colours in the raw PGN were opposite to those on the team sheets. It is possible that there are still errors in my corrected PGN files, so please let me know if you find any.

Here are all the games from the Junior Team Championships (1736 games, PGN) after correction of player names, event details etc. Some game scores are incomplete and others are missing. For missing scores, I have inserted player names and the published result in the PGN file. For reference purposes, here is the unedited PGN file of the teams event, from the official website.

I have not yet finalised my editing of the Wild Card events, so here is the unedited PGN file of the Wild Card events, from the official website.

Finally, here are all the games of the 2015 Inter Regional (172 games, PGN) after correction of player names, event details etc. Some game scores are incomplete and others are missing. For missing scores, I have inserted player names and the published result in the PGN file.

Excellent Ethekwini team results

The South African Junior Team Championships were held in Kimberley from 3rd to 7th January 2015. About 1950 players (208 teams) competed for the medals in 19 different sections, split into different age categories. Western Province dominated the A section of the teams event, winning gold medals in under 8, under 10, under 12, under 14, and a shared gold in under 18. The under 18 gold medals were shared as the teams had identical tie-breaks on match points, game points, direct encounter and Sonneborn-Berger (although I think the latter should have been calculated on game points rather than match points, in which case WP would have finished 2nd). Western Province also got silver medals in under 16 and under 20. The only teams that dented their golden record were Nelson Mandela Bay in under 18, Johannesburg Metro in under 20, and Ethekwini in under 16!

The Ethekwini under 16 A team won gold in the under 16 teams event, winning 6 of their matches and losing one. Western Province and Tshwane also won 6 and lost 1, so first place was decided on game points. Here Ethekwini was declared the winner, thanks largely to a controversial 10-0 sweep of Joburg Metro in the last round. This was because a cellphone rang in the Joburg Metro team manager's bag as the match was drawing to a close, resulting in them losing 10-0 instead of by 6-4. Both WP and Tshwane appealed the result, but this default rule was agreed to at the team manager's meeting before the tournament and applied to several other teams during the event.

Detailed results for all of Ethekwini's teams were as follows:
under 8 A team - 3rd in A section - BRONZE medals
under 10 A team - 3rd in A section - BRONZE medals
under 12 A team - 2nd in A section - SILVER medals
under 12 B team - 3rd in C section - BRONZE medals
under 14 A team - 2nd in A section - SILVER medals
under 14 B team - 1st in C section - GOLD medals and promotion
under 16 A team - 1st in A section - GOLD medals
under 16 B team - 1st in C section - GOLD medals and promotion
under 18 A team - 5th in A section
under 20 A team - 6th in A section

The official website for the event has a good selection of photos. Here are a couple of the Ethekwini players, from round 3 of the teams event:

I would like to publish more photos, but have not received any from the Ethekwini team managers!