Sunday, 24 December 2017

9th JZ Open

The annual Presidential chess tournament was held at the Sibusisiwe Hall in Mandeni on 22nd December 2017. This was the 9th such event. The hall comfortably accommodated almost 300 players, who pitched up from all over KZN. The A section was open to all players, many of whom entered on the day, which delayed the start of play. Another reason for the delayed start was that we could not access the hall until it had been cleared by the sniffer dogs. The B section was for teams of 10 juniors (5 boys and 5 girls) with the hosts Mandeni being the top seeds. Play started in both sections at about 11 am. We could have started play earlier in the B section, but the conditions were far too noisy, with the DJ blasting non-stop music at full volume.

Each round took about an hour to complete. Most of the games in the A section finished quite quickly, as there were lots of easy points on offer for the top players. Things were different in the B section, where the top teams started meeting each other from the second round. Pairings for round 5 in the A section were ready when we heard the presidential chopper fly over the hall, so this round went ahead as usual. The last few games from round 4 in the B section were still being finished as this happened, so we stopped play in this section, pending the imminent arrival of President Zuma.

Prizewinners with President Zuma, with Mabusela holding the cup
Mandeni were clear winners in the team event, with Ethekwini in 2nd place, and Ugu surprised us with 3rd place. I have published all the details on chess-results.com. The open section was still undecided after 5 rounds, as there were 6 players tied with 5 wins each, namely Cyril Danisa, Wanda Khanyile, Johannes Mabusela, Bheki Mgobhozi, Tshediso Mpya and Musa Nyathi.

Whilst the president visited the junior players from the team event and played a few games against them, a round robin blitz play-off was held for the A section. This was won convincingly by the new South African champion, IM Johannes Mabusela, with 4 wins and a draw, so he took home yet another trophy!

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