Saturday, 31 December 2016

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.