Saturday, 31 December 2016

Seasons greetings

Penny Dlamini, Lisa Griffiths and Nishi Baboolal
King Cetshwayo players (at fun tournament in December)
King Cetshwayo (formerly Uthungulu) Chess Association hosted its last tournament for 2016 on the 4th of December.  The lovely ladies on the committee persuaded me to wear a silly hat for the group photo and want to thank the King Cetshwayo community, including parents, schools and players, for their support and dedication throughout 2016.

Wishing everybody a blessed Festive Season and a Happy New Year!

SAJCC 2016

The annual chess extravaganza known as the SAJCC took place this year from the 15th to the 23rd of December, at Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg. If I'm not mistaken, 260 teams took part, which is apparently a new record, with close to 2,300 participants ranging from the under 8's to the under 20's. The numbers were so large that two playing halls had to be used, with about 800 players aged 16 to 20 in OR Tambo hall and 1,500 youngsters in the larger Terminal hall. The arbiting team worked from early on the 15th until 1 am on the morning of the 16th so that everything was ready for the opening ceremony a few hours later.

Chess SA president Eldo Smart opens the 2016 SAJCC in Terminal hall
Here is a summary of all the team results (docx format, 13 pages long) which was prepared by the arbiting team. It can be seen that gold medals in the Championship (A section) went to:

under 08 Western Province (Ethekwini 3rd),
under 10 Tshwane (Ethekwini 5th),
under 12 Western Province (Ethekwini 3rd),
under 14 Western Province (Ethekwini 2nd),
under 16 Ethekwini (WP 2nd, Joburg Metro 3rd, Tshwane 4th)
under 18 Western Province (Ethekwini 4th),
under 20 Tshwane (Ethekwini 5th).

The gold to Ethekwini in the under 16 division was the only blot on the Western Province and Tshwane clean sweep! This was an incredibly close division - 3 of the top 4 teams were equal on match points (they won 5 matches each) and, if this section had been decided on match points, then Johannesburg Metro would have been the winners, as they won all their matches. It all goes to show how important it is to have strength in depth, when game points are the key number.

Our gold medal team, from left: Anele Danisa, Mayilan Chetty, Kiashen Maharaj, Cayden Pather,
 Dayaan Parthiephal, Sachin Reddy, Zahra Kara, Cailin Chetty, Joseph Mwale (coach),
Chad Millard, Ayanda Gumede (manager), absent - Ananta Reddy.
The team event was followed by the Wild Card tournaments, for those players who had not already qualified for the Junior Closed in 2017. Notable KZN successes were:

under 12 1st Mayaskar Nair
under 14 2nd Abhay Prithipal
under 16 =3rd/14th Chad Millard, Lance Leslie-Smith, Cayden Pather
under 18 4th Shivar Gopaulsingh
under 20 1st Jivorn Reddy, 2nd Truwen Reddy

An Inter Regional team championship was held at the same time as the Wild Card event. It was won quite convincingly by the "A-team" from Tshwane. Sadly the Ethekwini team failed to perform, after being seeded 4th they ended up in a disappointing 15th place. I was an arbiter for this event and have now captured all 308 games (PGN) - there are some great games.

Chess on TV

Chess was recently featured in an SABC TV news broadcast - here is a YouTube video of the broadcast. The occasion was the 8th JZ Chess Open, which was held this year in Mandeni, on the 20th December 2016. The event was organised by the Jacob Zuma Foundation. Thanks to Sandile Xulu, who provided this link. Sorry, no results were supplied to me.

Ethekwini League

The Ethekwini League took place in the last quarter of the year and was divided into two sections. The top 8 teams played a round robin in the A section, which was a success for the top seeds, Umhlanga Chess Club (rated 1878 on average), who won 6 and drew 1 of their matches. In second place was Durban Chess Club (1701 average), who beat the second seeds from Glenwood Chess Club (1876 average) in round 3, by the smallest of margins. Glenwood took 3rd and 4th places in the A section.

Teams consisted of 6 players and the board prizes were won by Joseph Mwale (Umhlanga), Cailin Chetty (Durban), Henry Oliver (Durban), Desmond Rooplal (Durban), Sayen Naidu (Glenwood) and Sizwe Ndlovu (Beier). I was playing board 1 for Durban and came within an inch of the gold medal, losing on time when a piece up against Joseph Mwale.

Umhlanga Chess Club went on to represent Ethekwini at the SA Club Championships team event, held near Bloemfontein in early December. They had a disastrous start, defaulting their first round match because of a car accident, but recovered well to find themselves playing the eventual winners, Chess Excellence A, in the last round. They beat Chess Excellence over the board, but then found themselves defaulted on 3 boards, because they were in the wrong board order!!

The B section of the League was played as a Team Swiss event. Initially 13 teams entered, which meant there had to be a bye. Surprisingly, this was given to the second seeds in the first round! The B section was marred by an excessive number of defaults, particularly by the student teams - either they were involved in the "fees must fall" protest or they were writing exams. In the end, Glenwood Chess Club C team were convincing winners, followed by Durban Chess Club B team.

Thanks go to the Open Air School for use of their hall as the playing venue, and to Divesh Sookdeo who was the arbiter. Here are the A section results and the B section results. Further details can be found on the chess-results website.