- The 2019 edition of the SA Closed is in full flow. The Closed is a special event as a player strives throughout his or her career to play in this event. Many top players never made it to the Closed. I played in my first SA Closed in 1989 at the age of 16 and came in the top three. At that stage SA was still divided in chess and other sports and South African chess held a Closed for white players and one for Black players.
- I first heard of the SA Closed when I started playing in 1987. I was told that a SA Closed was held in Durban 1986 which was won by Shabier Bhawoodien ( now playing in the B section in 2019) and thereafter in Worcester in 1987 which was won by Deon Pick ( who in 2019 is playing in the Senior Section). In 1988 the SA Council on Sport ( SACOS ) hosted the Olympic Games in Cape Town of which chess was part. The SA Closed, however, was held in East London which was won by Maxwell Solomon who in 2019 is making his debut in the Senior section. In 1989 Deon Solomons won the SA Closed hosted in Bellville South. In 1991 the Chess Association for the People of South Africa hosted another Closed at CPUT campus. Deon Solomons again won this with me being second. So this was a short history of the black chess history of the SA Closed.
- From 1993 the first combined SA Closed was held at Claremont chess club in Cape Town. This was also the trials for the players to participate in the African Team Championships in Egypt. I ended in the last three places and was very disappointed with my play. In 1994 a SA Closed took place at CPUT again. This time I did myself justice and ended with one loss, six wins and six draws thus guaranteeing myself a spot for the second time in the Olympiad team. Deon Solomons won the event impressively.
- In December 1995 we had a strange SA Closed in that Angolan players were allowed to play in the event. This event was held in Cape Town. I didn’t play as the organiser forgot to invite me! There were no cellphones at that time and he simply said Lyndon I couldn’t get hold of you after the invitations were sent out! Emails were also rare at time!IM David Gluckman won this event.
- In 1998 the next SA Closed was held at Bruma Lake in Johannesburg. This was a nice event and marked the entry of one Kenny Solomon. One of my fondest memories was when Eddie Price called an urgent meeting and said that someone is having more than their allotted two cups of Milo or hot chocolate at the hotel where we were playing ! Yes the good old days!
- In 2000 we played in Port Elizabeth. Here a certain Nick Van Der Nat made his triumphant debut and won the event for the first time.
- In 2001 the SA Closed went to Johannesburg as the Chessa Council took a decision to host it in an uneven year so that players have enough leave in the Olympiad year which takes place in the even years. This event was won by IM Watu Kobese who then came joint first in the African Championships that year.
- In 2003 the event was held in Kempton Park off Pomona Road. An interesting event and my fondest memory was of IM Stanley Chumfwa being chased by a dog on the grounds !He just made it into the hall with his red shoes! IM Kenny Solomon and IM Watu Kobese won this event. I travelled in a Ford Tracer to Jonnesburg with Donovan van Den Heever, Kenny Willenberg, Kenny Solomon and Rucien Kuhn.
- In 2005 we made history when we staged the SA Closed at Newlands Cricket field. Since that time it has been hosted in Cape Town. Let’s look at the recent winners:
1994 – Deon Solomons
1995 – IM David Gluckman
1998 – Mark Rubery and IM Watu Kobese
2000 – FM Nick Van Der Nat
2001 – IM Watu Kobese
2003 – IM Watu Kobese and GM Kenny Solomon
2005 – FM Nick Van Der Nat
2007 – IM Henry Steel
2009 – FM Nick Van Der Nat
2011 – IM Henry Steel and IM Watu Kobese
2013 – IM Donovan van Den Heever
2015- IM Daniel Cawdery
2017 – IM Johannes Mabusela and FM Calvin Klaasen
In this present field we have thus six former SA Closed Champions. They are Grandmaster Kenny Solomon, IM Watu Kobese and FM Calvin Klaasen. Will IM Watu Kobese make it to win his fifth title, will Klaasen be successful in defending his joint title? Will grandmaster Kenny Solomon win his second SA closed title? In my recollection this is the second time a grandmaster is playing in the SA Closed. In 1989 GM Ludek Pachman played in the SA Closed in 1989 in Secunda. ( gunther please put in a Photo here of the grandmaster pachman )
The other SA Closed winners are Shabier Bhawoodien in 1986, Deon Pick in 1987 and Maxwell Solomon in 1988.
The round started as usual at four pm and we were extremely fortunate that the school had installed back up lights in their hall because load shedding commenced at four pm!! But in true chess fashion no player complained and simply played their opening moves. There were one or two players who afterwards said they didn’t see the threats of their opponents and lost a pawn or two! I was reminded of my friend in Sedgefield Terry Quirk who said that one must always think about a cat when playing chess. As I am not a cat lover I asked him what it was and he said ……C – am I in check ? A stands for attacking and T stands for
threat, so one
must be aware of the Cat at all times. I told him I like dogs so I have come up
with D – danger , O for opportunity and G – find a good move! So when it comes
to load shedding one must be aware of cats and dogs!
Review of Match day two
FM Paul Gluckman vs FM Matt Pon – a French appeared on the board. Gluckman had some pressure but Pon defended well and the two young pretenders agreed to a draw.
IM Watu Kobese vs GM Kenny Solomon. A Marshall was played by black to which White responded with pawn to d4 with complications. The players spent quite some time afterwards analysing the game as they agreed to a draw soon thereafter.
FM Roberto De Abreu is playing FM Daniel Barrish. Barrish picked up the point when he held onto the extra pawn he accepted on c4.
FM Calvin Klaasen played FM Keith Khumalo. Klaasen gave a good endgame lesson to the young player.
FM Roland Bezuidenhout played FM Mohammed Bhawoodien. Bhawoodien came through with his b pawn after some initial pressure,
Micheal James played strong chess when be heat Ben Hercules. MIcheal had Bens Sicilians under pressure and when he played queen g3. Have a look at the game. He sacrificed a bishop for some great attacking chess potential.
Its interesting that only the top players and the senior players are using the analysis room.
They seem to like exchanging ideas. Its important to do this.
Check out www.chess- results.com
SA Closed – Women
Senior section :
Glenn Willenberg vs Edwin November. Glenn beat Edwin.
Roland Willenberg vs Andre Schutte. Schutte won this game. There were some tactical chances for both sides but Schutte saw a bit further.
Stephen Gallied vs Andrey Southey. They drew after some attacking pressure by Dr.
Deon Pick vs Mark Lewis. Pick was attacking and Mark decided that is was best to remove his king and moved king to f7. He told me after the game that he was releasing his inner Ding! The game was drawn.
Maxwell Solomon vs Gerrit Meiboom. Maxwell played a nice positional game against Meiboom to bring the point home.
Cecil Ohlson vs Andrew Talmarkes. Cecil sacrificed a knight to open Andrew’s King and then proceeded to chase the king over the queenside. Well done Cecil. Tough start Andrew.
Enjoy the day!