Reflections 7 on the Chess Western Province League by Dr Lyndon Bouah

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Mitchells Plain Chess Club

Kraaifontein Chess Club

Steinitz Chess Club

Drakenstein Dragons Chess Club

Manyanani Chess Club

Cape Town Chess Club

UCT Chess Club

MRL Chess Club

Organic growth wins the League!

Steinitz Chess Club

Steinitz Chess Club has won the Chess Western Province 2019 league in superlative fashion by winning their last match against Belhar Knights. The Premier team of Steinitz chess club played eleven matches in the league, drew one with the second placed MRL and won the rest of their matches. Steinitz successfully defended their title that they won last year in the 2018 league. One of the interesting statistics is that the Premier team of Steinitz has not lost in 34 matches in classical chess. In the last two years of league play the Premier played 22 teams in the last two Premier leagues and drew four matches and won 18. In the Western Cape Club championships, the Premier team played 12 matches over the last two years and won all twelve with no drawn matches. An impressive series of results!

1. Analysis of the E Division: Development Section

2. As usual we start with the D Division.

The D Division had been decided in the previous weekend with Kraaifontein Chess club gaining promotion over the opposition. Kraaifontein Chess Club has gelled well together as a club and all their players are dedicated and committed to the club. Well done to Kraaifontein. Kraaifontein ended with 19 points and in second place and gaining promotion was Drakenstein Dragons from Paarl. Drakenstein Dragons beat Manayani 6-0 to secure promotion to the C Division. Crossroads B just misses out by I am sure the guys will be back.

3. Analysis of C Division

Kraaifontein A secured promotion in the previous weekend. The A team was populated with some experienced campaigners in Edwin November and Aaron Boyisi. Congrats to them. They showed depth and commitment to their cause. The second team to be promoted was Manyanani B. Manyanani showed great composure to end in second spot so well done to them. Kraaifontein A had two drawn matches and nine match wins! An impressive result! Manyanani had two losses but will be happy with their second place.

Kraaifontein Chess Club


4. Analysis of B Division

Elsies River A and UWC A won promotion to the A division. Congrats to both clubs. Elsies River was led on board one by the 78-year-old Mr. Wali Rahman who sports an 1895 rating and has played some good chess. Elsies River has always been a good club with strong developing players. It is good that Elsies River is back in the Premier division after a long absence!! In fact, I will have to go search when last they were in the Premier. Eugene Steenkamp assembled a team based on youth and experience that enabled the team to progress. Eugene tells me that he thinks the last time was possibly 1990!

Elsies River Chess Club

FM Keegan Agulhas must be commended for staying the course with UWC, leading UWC from the

front he anchored the team on board one. As a first-year student, he has how own pressures, but he persevered (with his beard!) and led the University of the Western Cape back to the Premiership after being relegated in 2018. What was further impressive was that UWC had a good sprinkling of female players with WFM Lauren Van Niekerk playing some good games as well as the Fritz sisters Kaylin and Tegan. So welcome back UWC!

The teams finished on the same score of 18 match points, but Elsies River had one more game point on 45 points, so they win the B section.

5. Analysis of Premier Section

The Premier Division is the crown of the Chess Western Province league. The league started in 1907 and has continued for over 100 years. After a period when two leagues ran parallel to each other, the league became one again in 1992 when the clubs in Cape Town started to play against each other after nearly two decades of separate divisions.

The club is an intense campaign has every club takes their responsibility seriously. The league is played over 8 boards with many clubs also having reserves to assist the double round obligation on a Saturday. Many of the clubs have top players playing on their top boards. Headlining the players on board one is Olympians IM Watu Kobese who plays for African Chess Lounge who has gone through the Chess Western Province league for two years unscathed as he has not lost a single game in two years of league play! South African Co Closed Champion FM Calvin Klaasen plays for MRL and has played some good games on the top board. he has been ably supported by the warhorse Advocate Maxwell Solomon, who still has the same fire in the belly that he had thirty years ago. He fights for every point and no quarter is given or asked! FM Calvin Klaasen also won the board prize for the first board.

The two Darling brothers Paul and Simon was ably supported by Hishaam Essop on board three. UCT at was a strong opponent and provided many clubs some scary moments! FM Dr Bhawoodien was pillar for Manyanani as he unfailingly pitched for his game. FM Paul Gluckman on board one was a good board one for Cape Town chess club. Cape Town had some tight games and it is hoped that IM David Gluckman plays a bit more!

Steinitz was a force to be reckoned with in 2019. Board one was Michael James who showed his prowess by ending on fifty percent. Playing on board one in the WP league is like playing a SA Closed every week. Most of the players you face are either former SA Junior Champions or Olympiad players. It means that you have to be prepared for sharp lines at every turn.

IM Watu Kobese vs Michael James

On board two Craig Willenberg was a star. He went for victory in every game. He knew what was expected at every turn. His experience showed when the Steinitz team was facing defeat against Manayani. He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after being on the defensive against Warrick Erlank for a long time. He played eleven matches for his beloved Steinitz and won the board prize for board two.

On board three I had a solid league ending the league undefeated. I scored 7.5/ 10 with 5 wins and five draws. As Captain, my duty was to ensure that we win each match. That meant keeping an eye on every board throughout the match. One needs to understand what may possibly happen in every game so that the match score can be built up. In the match against Cape Town we were not doing the greatest but once we secured four points, I offered my young opponent a draw knowing that 4.5 will ensure the match. Once he accepted then my colleagues on the remaining boards could play with no issues. The result was the important thing! It is also important to have team talks before each match to ensure what is expected from each player. On a personal note this is my tenth league win as captain of Steinitz. I first played for Steinitz in 1996 and won my first league season with Steinitz in 1998. Since then I have played more than 200 matches for the club in Classical competitions as captain. I am proud to have been part of the club when it won the national club

championship title seven times, the Western Cape Club Championship seven consecutive times and now the Chess Western Province Club chess league for the eleventh time. League chess is important as it forms the basis of a socially inclusive, creative, active and connected Western Cape.

Ethan Samuels is not yet in Matric and he has already won two Premier league titles! In 2018 he was the board eight for Steinitz and this year he played board four. On board five Kenny Willenberg showed his outstanding understanding of the game. Over the first weekend he scored 0.5/2 and thereafter he scored 9 wins in a row to record a fantastic score of 9.5/11!!! This must be a record!!! He too won a board prize.

On board six Mark Lewis, the South African over fifty champion, played seven matches and scored an unbeaten and impressive 6/7. Mark was also unbeaten in the league last year and he has mastered the art of gaining the maximum from his positions!

On board seven Andreas De Jager has been a revelation. He has now gone through the league unbeaten and this year he has been a star performer. He scored 8/9. He won most competitions he participated, and he too now is a second Premier League winner. Brother Luan De Jager on board eight scored 8/9 and also went through the league unbeaten!!

The team was well supported by WIM Denise Bouah and Glenn Willenberg. The ten players showed that depth is an important make up of each team. Glenn’s experience and Denise’s tenacity were important factors in the victory.

Steinitz Chess Club

MRL ended second in the event. The team is well balanced with players from across the Western Cape in the team. The players from MRL are battle hardened with guys like Bernard Klein, John Laurie George Loverlot, Jacques Basson and Justin Lynch were key players. Lourenzo Van Niekerk was ably supported by daughters Robyn and Megan Van Niekerk. FM Calvin Klaasen and Adv

Maxwell Solomon were pillars of strength for MRL. They played when they needed to and added some beauty to the tough MRL team!

UCT surprised all with their final placing of third place. UCT lost heavily lost Steinitz and MRL and ACL but beat the rest of the field. So well done to them! The Darling brothers were on fire, but the students showed they a force to be reckoned with.

African Chess Lounge ended in fourth place with their team probably angry at themselves for losing to Blackjacks and drawing with Cape Town. They beat MRL impressively, but the earlier squandered points were their undoing.

Belhar Knights and Bellville were relegated. It was tough for these two clubs.

Mr. Murray Steenkamp sent me some interesting statistics. He stated that the biggest age difference between opponents was 68 years between Professor Johannes Cruywagen (85) and Mustaqeem Osman (17). Dr Eustace Moses (75) was in several battles of the ages against Henroux Strydom (8), Ishmael Allie (11), and Amzolele Ntukela (13). Johannes Van Zyl (76) played against Daniel Imre (11), Hlumelo Jali (12) and Abdol Thabet. Wali Rahman (78) played against Chari Van Tonder (14) and Aden Coetzee (15).

Dr Moses and Professor Johannes Cruywagen played in the league against each other. Probably the oldest combined age of 160 years. Imagine the experience!

The biggest age gap in the Premier section was Rishay Thakarsee (15) vs Andrew Southey (72) – 57-year gap. Rishay also played against Gordon Lawrence (67) a 52-year gap!

League numbers total players:

Premier = 164, B = 160, C = 159, D = 157, E = 252

Total = 892

6. Board Prizes

The board prizes were a tough one to crack for the organisers as many players played on different boards and between divisions. This meant that certain players although they may have qualified on the boards that they were registered for did not make it for their board prizes as they did not fulfil all the criteria that was stipulated in the rules.

The board prizes winners were:

Steinitz Board Prize Winners

Thank you for all your comments. I end my reporting on the 2019 Chess Western Province league by listing the winners since 1992:

1992  UCT

1993 Steinitz

1994 Cape Town

1995 Manyanani

1996 Mitchells Plain

1997 Claremont

1998 Steinitz

1999 Claremont

2000 Cape Town

2001 Steinitz

2002 Steinitz

2003 Claremont

2004 Mitchell’s Plain

2005 Mitchell’s Plain

2006 Steinitz

2007 Stellenbosch

2008 Stellenbosch

2009 Steinitz

2010 UCT

2011 Steinitz

2012 Chesscube

2013 Steinitz

2014 Steinitz

2015 African Chess Lounge

2016 African Chess Lounge

2017 MRL

2018 Steinitz

2019 Steinitz

Regards,

Dr Lyndon Bouah

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