Reflections on Western Cape Club Championships by Dr Lyndon Bouah

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The 2019 Western Cape Club Championships was held at the Caledon Spa and Casino complex over the weekend of 25-27 October 2019. Caledon is a town situated in the Overberg region in the Western Cape.

It is located on the N2 and is about 107 kilometres from Cape Town. The Caledon district is primary an agricultural region. Grain production is the most with some stock farming. The town was originally known in Dutch as Bad after De Berg (Bath behind the Mountain). A bath house was built in 1797 and a village called Swartberg sprang up, which was later named in honour of the Irish peer Du Pre Alexander, the 2nd Earl of Caledon (1777-1839), the first British governor of the Cape Colony. Caledon is known for its natural hot springs and known locally for its towering silos and wind turbines. Some historical facts about Caledon include the fact that the Caledon Dutch Reformed Church congregation dates back to 1811 and is the 8th oldest in South Africa, the beautiful Caledon Wildflower Garden was established in 1927 and the Caledon museum was built in 1917.

The Western Cape Chess Club Championship is an annual event that started in 2012. Steinitz is the only club that has played in the event every year. The event started on the West Coast and has moved around the Western Cape with the latest edition now taking place in Overberg. Steinitz has won the event every year and each year sends a strong contingent to the event. This year was no different, but I was also glad to see Manyanani, the 2017 SA Club Champions also sending a team headlined by the first world chess champion from South Africa, Dr Shabir Bhawoodien, who won the World Amateur Chess Championship around the turn of the century. He was in turn joined by Gordon Lawrence, the SA over 65 champion. Their board three was Deon Pick who together with the first two players also competed in the World Seniors in Germany last year. 2018 Commonwealth Senior Champion Dr Andrew Southey who was the headline act for Hermanus chess club and the SA over fifty champion Mark Lewis, was board three for Steinitz. During the rugby on the Sunday Dr Southey was joined by his lovely wife. They will be celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary this year! We congratulate them on this tremendous achievement!!

Riversdal was out in force with four teams while Blackjacks from Cape Town came with three teams. Well done to these teams!! There were twenty five teams in all, with teams coming from as far afield as Pacaltsdorp, George Chess Club who sported chess sweaters that said Checkmate, Slangrivier Chess Club, Swellendam Chess club, Kleinmond, Zwelisha Chess Club, The Simons Town Military Chess Club, Oudsthoorn Chess Club and Barrydale Chess club. This was a good representation of chess clubs from across the Western Cape province. For this year, Overberg also requested that an under 14 C section be introduced. 6 teams competed in this section.

U14 Section

The first round started on Friday night 25 October. A captains meeting was held in the playing venue. It was agreed that 19 teams would compete in a Swiss and that the results would then be separated into an A and B Section. The first round largely went to form with the top teams all securing six nil victories against their lower rated opponents.

Round two though proved to be very interesting with Steinitz immediately paired against Blackjacks A in the second round. This was a bit unexpected as I thought we would get a different opponent but there we were playing against seed number three! The games were dramatic with Cherwin Kleinsmith and Kenny Willenberg having a tough battle on board one. Both players didn’t want to give any ground. They played out till the game became a draw even

though Cherwin had an extra pawn, but the opposite colour Bishop ending was always going to be a factor. Charlton Maranvanika lost in time in an equal position against me when he probably had a perpetual. On board three Jamie Geduld continued his good run of form with a good victory against Mark Lewis. On board four Luan De Jager secured a good victory while Ashley Glenn Willenberg and Jacques Frick brought up the rear with some good points.

In round three Steinitz was paired against Manyanani. A tough encounter was expected because both teams have pedigree. On board one Dr Bhawoodien essayed the Schielemann Defence which I am sure is actually an attack. Kenny didn’t play the opening well and Bhawoodien got an initiative going. The game however ended in a draw after many adventures. On board two Gordon Lawrence and Lyndon Bouah went into a Kings Indian Defence which I am convinced is actually the Kings Indian Attack! The game ended with Bouah about to rip open the Kingside with Nxh3 but alas it was not to be as Gordon’s time fell. So, I thought ok, I was going to mate him, he wants to resign, and his time fell so that means I must get three points!! On board three Mark Lewis played his old foe Deon Pick. In the league these two old friends played a five-move draw. Before the game I told the Steinitz players that no draws can be offered. We are going to play out each game even if it was drawish. Mark followed my advice and got Mr Picks queen in trouble when Pick decided to take on b2 with his queen with a board full of pieces.! Steinitz beat Manyanani 5.5 to 0.5 which was a decisive victory!!

In the following round Oudtshoorn played on board one and gave a good account of themselves. Although the score was a lopsided 5.5 the guys played well and should’ve probably picked up a point as they were a piece up on one board but couldn’t capitalise. Blackjacks A and B were going on a rampage as they proved to be too strong for most of the other teams.

In the final rounds Steinitz easily secured victory but not without adventures. In the final round I had an exciting game against Martin Brink from Hermanus. I sacrificed both my knights for three pawns and an attack. What would you play in the following position?

I am two pieces down so what to do now? ……………….

Well I chose to play……pawn to h6!! The idea was to pressurise Black. He defended with Ne8. I now played pawn to

d7. Black recaptured and now after Rxd7 check Black played Ne7. What to do now? Well more wood must be brought into play. White played pawn to c5. This took away a square and Black replied Ra7. White now continued the pawn march with pawn to c6. Black immediately activated his queen with Qb6. White replied with Rg5. Black decided to consolidate with Rc7. White needed to be creative and now played queen to e5. Black replied Qb4. White now realised that something was in the air and played Bc4+ the bishop cannot be taken because the knight on e7 will fall. So, after Kf8 White played Queen takes Ne7+ forcing Qxe7 and white now in Morphy style played Rg8 mate!! A lovely way to finish the tournament and season!

The event ended with Steinitz securing victory, Blackjacks coming second and pipping Manyanani who ended the event with a 3-3 draw against Pacaltsdorp. Many of the players are stronger than their ratings suggest. Their ratings may be low, but their understanding is certainly higher. The players just need to play more.

The top teams were: A section

  1. Steinitz on 33 / 36 (one loss and four draws)
  • Blackjacks on 24.5
  • Manyanani on 21

Steinitz Chess Club

While in the B team Blackjacks defended their title and came first again. Oudtshoorn chess club came second and Hermanus was placed third.

The board prizes were the following in the A section

  1. Board one. – Kenny Willenberg (Steinitz 5/6)
  • Board two. – CM Lyndon Bouah (Steinitz 6/6)
  • Board three – Jamie Geduld (Blackjacks 5.5/6)
  • Board four – Luan De Jager (Steinitz 4/4)
  • Board five – Glenn Willenberg (Steinitz 4.5/5)
  • Board six –  Theo Kleinkans (Riversdal 5/5)
  • Reserve – Jacques Frick (Steinitz 4/4)

In the C division Swellendam chess club won all their matches to secure first place. Zwelihle chess club which consisted of an all-girl line up came second with Barrydale chess club in third place.

Full results at: http://chess-results.com/tnr482845.aspx?lan=1&art=0

This year 2019 has been an exceptional one for Steinitz chess club. Steinitz won the WP, Western Cape and South African club Championship. In the last two years they have played 46 matches and have been undefeated in match play over the classical time limit. Let’s have a look quickly at the statistics. I see the country is talking about streaks so let’s have a look at some streaks!

The 2017 Western Cape Club Championships was played in March 2018. The club won all six its matches. (6)

In the 2018 WP league the club played 11 matches and drew three (Blackjacks, ACL and Stellenbosch) and won 8 matches. (11)

In December 2018 the 2018 Western Cape Club Championship was played, and the team won all six its matches. (6)

In the 2019 WP league the Steinitz team played 11 matches (drew against MRL and won ten matches (11)

In September 2019 the Steinitz chess club won the South African Club Championship when they won all 6 their matches to clinch the title of being the best chess club in South Africa (6). In October 2019 the Steinitz Chess club won all six its matches at the Western Cape club championship (6).

So, the total club statistics counting the above is that since March 2018 they have not lost a single competitive chess match. The score is 46 matches played, 4 drawn and 42 match wins.

Kenny Willenberg at the start of the 2019 WP League started off with 0.5/2. He then reeled off 9 consecutive victories in the WP league, then 6 victories in the SA Clubs and then went undefeated in the Western Cape Clubs with 5/6. He is thus on a streak of 21 matches unbeaten with 19 victories and 2 draws!

Teammate Lyndon Bouah is not doing too bad either. Since his loss in round three of the Steinitz Open against Mark Lewis, Lyndon has gone to draw two and win one more in that event. I then went ten games undefeated in the WP league, (5 wins and 5 draws), then undefeated with 5/6 at the SA Clubs with a further 6/6 at the Western Cape Clubs. That gives me an undefeated streak of 25 games!!

The event in Caledon was well organised by the Overberg chess federation. They went all out with this prestigious event and they can be proud of their efforts. thank you for taking the time to read this!

Regards

Dr Lyndon Bouah 

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