Reflections 4 on Steinitz Open
The opening ceremony speech by Steinitz President Andrew Talmarkes:
Good evening everyone, especially players and parents, ChessWP and various club officials, current and future champions.
At this stage I also want to welcome the President of Western Cape Chess, Dr Omar Esau, President of Chess Western Province, Eugene Steenkamp, Vice-President of Chess Western Province, Llewellyn Louw, President of Cape Winelands Chess, Christian Maxwell. We are happy that these distinguished officials will all be playing. I also welcome Western Cape Vice-President, Leon De Jager, as our Chief Arbiter.
Before continuing with my opening address, please allow me to convey the following appreciation of thanks:
- Steinitz wishes to thank the management and staff of Stellenberg High for hosting us this weekend. In particular, I want to mention the following people: Rochelle Bock and Surina De Wit, as well as Oom Pieter. The school is going out of their way for us. The Deputy Head, Rust De Jongh, approved the hall venue for us, and also gave us tables and chairs for free.
- Sincere thanks also to Chess Western Province for the equipment and especially Eugene Steenkamp for spending his morning helping us.
- Thanks also to our sponsor for the past 3 years, Yacoob Yacht, for their continued support; as well as another friend of Steinitz donor who has also sponsored us for the past 3 years. This year he has dedicated R5000 to a former Steinitz player and father of the Willenbergs, the late Kenny Willenberg SR
Steinitz Chess Club, started in 1977 chess by 6 scholars (including myself), celebrates its 42nd anniversary this month and has since 2007, been able to consistently gather the cream of chess players across the country, to annually join in its anniversary tournaments. 2007 tournament was won by then IM and now GM, Kenny Solomon.
- The annual Steinitz tournament has become one of the highlights on the South African tournament calendar, and rates highly as a SA Grand Prix event
- 2007 triggered the start of the annual Steinitz Chess Festival celebrating 30th anniversary
- This tournament was then contested by players from all over South Africa. This is still the case today, as we once again welcome visitors from all over the country. In the 2007 tournament, the current SA Closed Co-Champion and Olympiad player, Fide Master Calvin Klaassen, made his debut.
- We welcome Calvin’s participation here at this tournament. We also have present with us top seed International Master, Watu Kobese. He is no stranger to winning this prestigious tournament, (having jointly winner with Jerald Times in 2013) and is an Olympiad centurion. Watu also jointly won the tournament in 2018. Also present is multiple SA Champion and veteran, FM Charles De Villiers. We also welcome other fellow Olympiad players in SA Women’s
Champion WIM Jesse February, Three-time SA Women’s Closed Champion WIM Dr.
Denise Bouah, WFM Michelle Fisher, WCM Rebecca Selkirk, Robyn Van Niekerk, FM
Charles De Villiers and Candidate Master Dr. Lyndon Bouah. We also welcome the
current SA Senior Champion and Steinitz founder member, PM Mark Lewis, the
Commonwealth Senior Champion,FM Dr Andrew Southey and Protea player and former
World Amateur Champion, FM
Shabier Bhawoodien. We also welcome Craig Willenberg who won the event in 2012, and who was a joint winner last year as well.
- It is interesting to note that the A section consists of 52 top players, of which 6 players represent some of the strongest and most lethal female players in the country. The A section also consists of some young lions like FM Mohammed Bhawoodien, FM Paul Gluckman and Michael James to mention a few.
- Steinitz is a very proud club with a rich tradition and has an impeccable track record and pedigree as resilient warriors locally, provincially and nationally. As a club, we are proud of our achievements especially in the team events provincially and nationally. As a club, we also boast immense junior strength, and it is remarkable that the club is able to surpass a membership total of 50 players and is also consistently able to gather top players from all over. We had grandmasters playing in at 3 Steinitz tournaments the past few years.
- The past few years, the annual Steinitz tournament averaged about 230 players. This year, we thank and salute our friends and players for the 294 brave warriors that have entered this weekend’s memorable event.
- Apart from
the champions already mentioned, please allow me to further mention some
statistics for 2019 Steinitz Festival:
- We have at least 20 titled players participating across all divisions
- 58 female players across all divisions.
- Youngest player participating is turning 5 in May.
- The name Willenberg is renowned in SA chess, and is synonymous with Steinitz Chess Club, for the past 4 decades. This tournament boasts 9 Willenbergs, including 5 brothers, 4 sons
- Thanks to a sponsorship from Yacoob Yachts, Steinitz was able to subsidise entry fees and offer 50% discount for 54 junior players from 4 development clubs belonging to ChessWP.
- 2019 Steinitz Festival therefore boasts 52 players in the A Division, 99 players in the B Division, 138 players in the C Division, 6 players in the U8 Division. Thank you to everyone who travelled from near and far, thank you to many of our top players who committed to this tournament. We look forward to a great tournament characterised by quality chess, awesome displays of skill, great social cohesion and lots of fun to be enjoyed by all.
I now declare the 2019 Steinitz Festival open, and hand you over to the Chief Arbiter, NA Leon De Jager.
Top seeds that lost in round one includes FM Charles De Villiers who lost to WIM Dr Denise Bouah in a tough struggle. Between the two of them they won about 8 SA Closed titles!!
Alexander Van Der Merwe beat Craig Willenberg while
Michael James lost to Johan Schnabel.
WIM Denise Bouah FM Charles De Villiers
I must reflect that six top players opponents didn’t pitch tonight. The six players without opponents IM watu Kobese, PM Bryan Aguirre, Athon Willenberg and WIM Jesse February, Robyn Van Niekerk, Gerrit Meiboom then graciously accepted that they will be paired again by hand. Well done to these six players who did not want default wins but rather wanted to play chess.
The second day of the event had its fair share of upsets and good chess. IM Watu Kobese is still dominating with his strong chess. I believe that the jerseys he brings to the event is his secret. He has two main jerseys one green and one blue and when those jerseys are present, I get scared. I’ve been playing against those jerseys since forever!
IM Watu Kobese
In the second round we had the Grob making its first appearance. Mr Ashley Schuller who normally competes for the best dressed prize essayed 1. g4 against his club mate Athon Willenberg. The game then continued along the lines of e5 2. h3 h5!!and on move five the rook found itself on H5 Let’s just say we couldn’t distinguish if the game was being played between 6-year-old or teenagers!!the Grob succeeded!! Dr Baloyi who is surgeon at the City Hospitals pressed home his advantage against WIM Jesse February. He played a good game. FM Paul Gluckman continues to impress with his solid chess and beat Alexander Van der Merwe. Alexander of course beat GM Nakamura a year ago in a simul!
The women participating are playing strong chess and Rebecca Selkirk who qualified for her WCM Title is certainly playing her heart out. WIM Bouah and Robyn Van Niekerk spends the entire duration fighting hard and I know that tomorrow they will be going for the jugular. Emil Schnabel has been playing impressive chess.
I’ve had a bit of an upside-down event. I was completely winning against Dr Shabier Bhawoodien and then I inexplicably allowed him back in the game which then petered out to a draw. I didn’t quite make the mental transition after this and PM Mark Lewis took full advantage of my frail mental state to take the full point. Note to self I must ask for a mental coaching session from Dr Denise Bouah next time this happens!! Well done SA over champion.
Dr Bouah, Steinitz Club Captain
In one of
the previous rounds Dr. Bhawoodien played against Dr Southey. A strange
incident happened because Bhawoodien played pawn to b4 attacking the Nc3. Dr
Southey in a rush to move
away instead touched the Nd4 which was the wrong knight and then promptly resigned. Players speculated that since Dr Southey is a vet that one horse looks the same as the other! Sorry Andrew!
The lower sections are all having their own championship. The B section and C section and the Under 8s seems to be enjoying themselves. I have noted that once the real games stop that the players immediately start playing friendlies also!!
Dr Esau had a good game against the author Edwin November. All three local and district chess presidents are playing. Eugene Steenkamp is playing Christian Maxwell from Cape Winelands as well and Dr Esau as the provincial president. There has been much debate about the time control. we are playing 60/60 with a ten second increment. Some players like others want a thirty second increment. So, the jury is out what the best format is. I’m sure players would prefer 90/90 so we may need to rethink matters next year and see what is best.
So, ladies and gentlemen come to Stellenberg High school tomorrow to watch the last two rounds which start at 9am. Some good chess will be played. In what event do you get nine players rated over 2000, various current and former SA Champions as well as a host of junior champions together with current and former members of the Olympiad team.
We have also noted that Watu Kobese has played two Willenbergs already so he may be doing a hat trick later if he meets Craig. There are are nine Willenbergs in the event, so you have a good chance of meeting at least a brother or son in the event!! Good luck for tomorrow.
Results so far:
Left Clea Nel,
Silver medal, Centre Jean Marits, Gold medal, Right Aaron Matthews Bronze medal
B Section Top 20
C Section Top 20
Dr Lyndon Boauh