Tuesday, 31 March 2015

1st Uthungulu Anniversary

The Uthungulu district celebrated its first birthday in style, with a massive birthday cake!
Chairperson Lisa Griffiths with the birthday cake
The children gather around the cake
The Uthungulu Committee

Of course, there was also a chess tournament to be held, with no fewer than 168 participants competing over 2 days, at Hoerskool Richardsbaai. Here is a picture of the Uthungulu chess family:

Lastly, here are the results for each of the age groups:
under 12 results,
under 14 results,
under 16 results,
under 20 results.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Autumn series 21-22 March

The Autumn series organised by Glenwood Chess Club was surprisingly won by the second seed, Lulama Qobo, with 4.5 points from his 5 games. Surprising, as he almost lost his first round game against Michael Fu, going 2 pawns down in a Queen and Rook ending. However, Fu blundered into a mate in one, after which Lulama never looked back.

The top seed, Joseph Mwale, had a moment of chess blindness in his round 3 game against Naseem Essa. This was the position, after about 20 moves, with Essa defending:

Joseph Mwale vs Naseem Essa
Play continued 1.Rxd8+ Rxd8 2.Nf6+ Bxf6 3.Rxf6 Rd1+ and now the appalling 4.Kf2?? lost to the skewer 4... Bh3 5.g4 Rf1+ 6.Kg3 Rxf6 7.Kxh3 Re6 8.Nf3 Qe7 and Black soon won. Either 4.Kg2 or 4.Rf1 gave White a small edge. In the post-mortem Joseph suggested 1.Rde1 and I liked 1.Rd3, in both cases 1... Bf5 can be met by 2.Nxf7 in White's favour.

The game of the tournament was undoubtedly Mwale vs Danisa, played in the last round. The tactical mastery shown by Joseph was extremely impressive:

Here are the final results of 2015 Autumn series.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

1st Loxion championship

Report by Mbongeni Sithole, Head Coach of the eThekwini Chess Association:-

We would like to thank everyone who made this tournament a success. The 1st Loxion Chess Championship 2015 was held at Maphumuzane Primary School in Umlazi's B section on the 7th of March 2015. This tournament was the first of its kind, a team event with more than 10 township Chess clubs taking part in a 5 round Swiss. There were more than 100 kids attending but most became spectators because we had reached the carrying capacity of the venue. The turn up at this tournament showed us that chess in the townships is alive and well. It just needs the community to stand up and structure it, so that the kids will have maximum opportunities to showcase their talent at district and provincial levels.

Champions - Mtoyedwa Chess Club with coach Cyril Danisa
2nd Place- Lamontville Chess Club

Best Junior Club - Mondli Mkhize's Umlazi North Chess Club
3rd Place - the Wang Hoa Stars
Best Girls Club - Chess Stars Girls
Five kids who took part in this tournament were invited to participate in the upcoming SAJCCC (South African Junior Closed Chess Championship) where they will be fighting for their right to represent the country. They are Khulekani Danisa, Anele Danisa, Nosipho Mkhize, Nobuhle Ndunakazi and Sphelele Makhanya. But all their dream could just become exactly that, a dream, if they don't come up with the sum of about R 5 000 each to cover registration as well as travelling costs to this tournament which will be held in Waterkloof, Pretoria from the 3rd to 10th of April this year.

We would like to appeal to anyone who is willing and able to assist with any amount towards covering their costs for the SAJCCC tournament. It is every junior's dream to take part in this tournament as it's the last step towards representing South Africa.

For more information, contact Mbongeni Sithole.

Update (31st March). Thanks to Analog-SA for their pledge of R5 000, and all the individual sponsors who have chosen to remain anonymous, the 5 players will be leaving for Pretoria on Thursday night.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Coaching workshops in KZN

Sandile Xulu reports that, for the very first time, KZN will have a database of Chess Coaches in all 11 districts.
KZN Chess Association has just completed launching the CHESS COACHES ASSOCIATION in all 11 districts. A move to train coaches was warmly welcomed by district associations as this will help improve their competitiveness when it comes to provincial tournaments.
UTHUKELA Coaches showing off their garden chess set in the city of LADYSMITH
LISA GRIFFITHS (in red) with her enthusiastic team of UTHUNGULU Coaches
LULAMA QOBO training from the podium at LUTHULI Museum in ILEMBE District
Previously, chess coaches would come from Durban only but this will soon change as coaches from all over the province will receive continued training. While most of the coaches are ‘Development Coaches’ others have very good potential to soon coach at a higher level.
AMAJUBA Coaches embraced the KZNCA Vision 2015 of ’50 clubs’
CHESS moves into the council chamber in LADYSMITH
Chess is making inroads at the heart of the ZULU KINGDOM 
Coaches Associations will act as a supporting structure to the district structures. This move will see more clubs being formed.
At Shisanyama in Bhekuzulu township, VRYHEID, chess is played while listening to some good music...
UMZINYATHI Coaches learning a new way to teach chess
LULAMA QOBO demonstrating a few coaching lessons in DUNDEE
February was an extremely busy month for the facilitators. Altogether, a total of 130 coaches were trained throughout 11 districts and this training took place every weekend from 14th February to 1st March 2015.
SANDILE XULU ‘teaching’ LULAMA QOBO a few blitz lessons over breakfast in VRYHEID
OXFORD GUEST HOUSE hosted the facilitators with warm hands in VRYHEID
Thanks to Mbongeni Sithole, Mondli Mkhize, Lulama Qobo and Erick Takawira for facilitating these workshops and making a success of them. I (Sandile Xulu) was also one of the facilitators. Thanks to all the district officials and others who helped make sure that these workshops ran smoothly.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

KZNCA AGM announced

Announcement from Sandile Xulu, the President of KZN Chess Association, concerning their Annual General Meeting for 2015:

"On behalf of KZNCA, I hereby inform all member Districts of KZNCA to attend the provincial AGM to be held on 18-19 April 2015 in Durban, the venue is Coastlands (corner of Pixley Ka Seme & Mahatma Gandhi Roads).

District Chairpersons or Secretaries are required to submit two names of their District Executive Members (District Officials) who will attend the AGM on behalf of their District Association. Names must be submitted to me by NO LATER than Wednesday 18 March 2015.

The AGM will run an extended program which begins on Saturday 18 April and continues on Sunday 19 April. A timetable/program will be sent in due course with the Agenda of the AGM."
For more information, contact Sandile Xulu.

Tournaments in March

We have received entry forms for the following events:

1) Ethekwini district: Glenwood CC  Autumn series on 21-22 March

2) Ilembe district: Crawford North Coast  Rapid event on 28 March

3) Uthungulu district: Richards Bay  Anniversary tournament on 28-29 March

All of these events will be rated by Chess SA. Further details can be found in the entry forms.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Fischer memorial rapid 2015

Durban Chess Club hosted a one day Open rapid tournament on Saturday, 7th March 2015 in memory of the late Robert James Fischer, whose birthday was on 9th March. The event was held at Northlands Senior Primary School in Durban North.

As defending champion, I felt obliged to participate, but was completely off form, finishing with 4 wins, 2 draws and a patzer loss to top seed Joseph Mwale. My only consolation was a particularly nice combination in round 2 against Chad Blomeyer, who went on to share the prize for the best under 16 player. This was the position with Black to move:

Rust vs Blomeyer, after White's 26th move
With time running low, Chad pinned the Knight with 26... Rd8 threatening 27... e5. However, White can ignore the threat, and play continued 27. c6! Rbc8 28.c7 Rd7 and now 29.Nf5!! leaves 2 of my 3 pieces en prise, but wins the game after 29... Rxd3 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nxc8 e5 32.Nb6 Be6 33.c8=Q+ Bxc8 34.Rxc8+ Ke7 35.Nxa4 etc. My subsequent home analysis showed that 26... e5 27.Nf5 Rc7 28.c6 Rbc8 29.Rdc3 Kf8 was about equal.

The winner was 3-time Durban champion Bongani Mgaga, who scored 6½ points from his 7 games. Along the way, Bongani had a very lucky escape against Paul Curry in round 3.

Mgaga vs Curry with Black to move
With about 90 seconds left on the clock, Paul reached for his Rook and the audience held their breath, expecting him to play 1... Rxh3+ 2.gxh3 Qg1 mate, but Paul placed the Rook on e7 and Bongani somehow managed to draw the game. Bongani's other key game was his round 6 win against 2nd placed Joseph Mwale, with castling on opposite sides of the board followed by a crushing attack on the black King. Also on 6 points, but placed 3rd on tie-break, was Petros Ntombela.

Here are the detailed results of the Fischer memorial rapid.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Max Euwe memorial 2015

The 2015 Max Euwe memorial took place on the weekend of 21st/22nd February at Berea Primary School in Durban. The playing schedule was a grueling 7 rounds of 60/60 over 2 days, so I opted to watch some games instead of playing. There were 61 players, headed by the hot favourite, visiting master Rodwell Makoto of Zimbabwe.

Listening to introductory remarks from the organisers
As early as round 2 the second seed, Erick Takawira, found himself in big trouble. You can see from my photo that he had only a minute left compared to his opponents 16 minutes, in what looked like a lost Bishop ending.
Mkhwanazi (1417) vs Takawira (2052)

From the diagram play continued 1.Bb1+ Kxf4 2.Bxg6 Be8 3.Bb1 Ke5 4.e7 Ke6 5.Kd4 Kxe7 6.Kc3 Ke6 7.Kxb2 and a draw was soon agreed. Afterwards I asked Erick how he would meet 4.Ba2 and he gave 4...Kf4 to which I replied 5.Kd6 Kg4 6.Ke7 Bg6 7.Kf6 Be8 8.g6 and White wins. After reflecting on this, Erick then found 4...b1=Q! 5.Bxb1 Kxe6 and Black draws because he can sacrifice his Bishop for the g-pawn and the h-pawn is the wrong colour to win.

Not so lucky was Bongani Mgaga in his last round encounter with Shivar Gopaulsingh. After catching his opponent out in the opening, he allowed Shivar back into the game, despite having a 20 minute time advantage. From the diagram play continued 1...Qb6+ 2.Kh1 Rd3 3.Qc2?? Rxg3 and Bongani played a few more moves before resigning. My computer gives 3.Qb2 as equal, whilst I was expecting 3.Qc5 from Bongani.

Mgaga (1701) vs Gopaulsingh (1776)

Pictured below is KZN veteran Cyril Thanda Danisa (right) and his student Nobuhle Ndunakazi, followed by a photo of the tournament winner, Rodwell Makoto.

Here are the final results of the tournament.