Monday, 13 April 2015

Three SA junior champions!!

KZN has got three new national champions!! Congratulations to Shivar Gopaulsingh, the under 16 open champion, to Ananta Reddy, the under 14 open champion, and to Karmishta Moodley, the under 12 girls champion. Shivar won his gold medal after defeating Justin Lynch 2-0 in a playoff match. In addition, Naseem Essa won the silver medal in the under 12 open division, and Aarti Datharam received the bronze in the under 10 girls competition.

Shivar, Ananta and Karmishta
The SA Junior Closed chess championships took place at Waterkloof High School in Pretoria from 4th to 10th April 2015. I hadn't been to Waterkloof High School before. It was a great venue for SA's top junior competition, easily accessible and with lots of space for everybody.

I was invited to be one of the two deputy chief arbiters. After driving from Durban to Pretoria on the 3rd, my first appointment was an arbiters meeting in the late afternoon, when we met to discuss the final tournament rules, venue set up and so on. The school hall was not big enough to accommodate all 278 players, so the top boards in all age groups, except for under 8's, played upstairs near the auditorium. We had 108 players upstairs, with about half of these games played on DGT boards, which transmitted the moves live over the internet for everybody to see.

The first round on the 4th was chaotic. Both myself and Fransie Grobbelaar, the other deputy chief arbiter, stayed upstairs with the top players, with the other arbiters downstairs in the main hall. In addition to resolving disputes between the top players, we were expected to record the results for the top players and check the results submitted by age group arbiters. It was simply unworkable! We decided that from round 2 all score keeping would be done downstairs. We also agreed that Fransie would move downstairs and supervise the majority of the games and arbiters. My KZN colleague Divesh Sookdeo moved upstairs as he was the arbiter of the under 16 boys section, and we also later enlisted Henro van der Westhuizen to our team for the top boards. Once this was done, we were able to resolve everything at the board and had no more appeals affecting the top players.

Well, that's enough background information for now. I had a ringside seat to most of the top games and will write more about the tournament in later posts. Here is a link to the official SAJCCC website and here is a link to the under 18 results page, from which you can navigate to all the other age group results.