Saturday, 23 January 2016

SA Inter Region champs

The South African Inter Regional team championships were held at the Sports Hall on the upper campus of the University of Cape Town, from 8th to 10th January 2016. This was at the same time and the same venue as the Junior Wild Card championships. A strong field of 21 teams of 4 players (plus optional reserve) entered the event. Among those playing were new SA champion, IM Daniel Cawdery, 3-times SA champions FM Nicholas van der Nat and IM Watu Kobese, FM Donovan van den Heever and IM Johannes Mabusela.
We travelled to the upper campus of UCT many times from the student residences
on the lower campus. Devils Peak and Rhodes memorial are in the background.
The championships turned into a two-horse race between Tshwane A and Western Province A. With both teams scoring 22 game points, the title went to Tshwane on match points.

Sadly, KZN could only find 3 players willing to take part in this event, namely Joseph Mwale, Lulama Qobo and Sachen Pather. They borrowed 2 Cape Town based players to make up an "Ethekwini" team. Joseph defeated the formidable Watu Kobese in 80 moves in a sensational first round upset, and he went on to win the board prize with his score of 5 out of 5 on board 1.

The top boards were broadcast live on the Tshwane Chess website and I found some other games on Facebook. After adding in the board numbers and ratings, here is a PGN file of all the games from this event (results given where game scores could not be found).

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

SA Junior Team champs

The annual SA Junior team championships took place in Cape Town at the UCT Sports Hall from 4th to 7th January 2016. KZN was well represented by teams from the Ethekwini, Ilembe and Uthungulu districts. The first 2 days were extremely uncomfortable in the playing hall, thanks to a heat wave, and thousands of litres of water were consumed by the players. Western Province (the hosts) took most of the gold medals in the A division after 7 rounds of gruelling competition, winning gold in 5 of the 7 age categories. The exceptions were the under 8 category, won by Tshwane, and the under 14 category, won by Ethekwini. Here is a link to the under 14 team results; the same page also lets you select other age group results that you may be interested in. The successful Ethekwini under 14 team was anchored by FIDE Masters Naseem Essa (left) and Cailin Chetty (right) on the top boards:

The writer was present as an arbiter for the team event. We all wore a high visibility red arbiters shirt and were kept very busy, mostly with illegal moves! I handled 63 illegal moves during the 7 rounds, as well as a variety of other incidents. In the photo, I'm listening to the Buffalo City team manager:

(photos selected from the Chess SA Facebook page)

December events

My apologies for not posting any chess news in December. I was taking a break for medical reasons and will now try and catch up with recent events. In the week ending 15th December 2015, KZN sent four teams to the SA Top Schools championships held in Pretoria. Our under 15 girls team from Khayalemfundo Primary school in the Ilembe district won a gold medal:

In the same week, the SALGA games for KZN were being held in  KwaDukuza (Stanger). Chess formed part of the SALGA games for the first time. Ethekwini were declared the best performing district after all the completed under 14 and under 20 results were combined (only 7 rounds of the round-robin sections were played). Unfortunately, I have not received any photos or the detailed results from this event.

This was followed on 20th December by the 7th JZ Chess Open, which took place in President Zuma's home town of Nkandla. The winners of the junior Team event (after 5 rounds) were Amajuba district. The winner of the Open section was Wanda Khanyile, on tie-break ahead of Khetha Mngadi and David Khondowe:
Thato Moremi, David Khondowe, Wanda Khanyile and Keith Khumalo
Last but not least, the African Youth chess championships took place in Lusaka, Zambia, from 6th to 12th December. Durban's Divesh Sookdeo was there as the SA team manager and his report can be found in article 448 on the Chess SA website. Five players from KZN were selected to play for South Africa, namely Karmishta Moodley, Naseem Essa, Keyana Padayachee, Kenyon Padayachee and Shivar Gopaulsingh. Congratulations go to Naseem Essa for his gold medal in the open under 12 division, which brings with it the title of FIDE Master. (At the time of writing, this event had not been rated by FIDE and so his title has not yet been updated). Also successful were Karmishta Moodley (silver medal, girls under 12) and Keyana Padayachee (silver medal, girls under 16).