Dr. Lyndon Bouah’s Reflections on the Women’s Section of the SA Closed Chess Championship 2024

Participants playing chess in the Women's Section

Dr. Lyndon Bouah recently shared insightful reflections on the historical evolution of the Women’s Section within the SA Closed Chess Championship. Looking into the past records of the tournament, he highlighted the remarkable achievements and notable moments that have shaped women’s chess in South Africa. The journey through time began with a glance at the names engraved on the prestigious trophy;

The women’s section is a tightly fought contest with a number of players in with a chance. A brief view of the names of the players that won trophies, and the year obtained below;
1. 2000 – Michelle Minnaar
2. 2001 – WIM Cecile van der Merwe
3. 2002 – Mignon Pretorius
4. 2003 – Mignon Pretorius
5. 2004 – Carmen De Jager
6. 2005. – WIM Denise Frick
7. 2008. – Carmen De Jager
8. 2013 – WIM Denise Frick
9. 2015 – WIM Denise Frick
10. 2017 – WIM Jesse February
11. 2019 – WIM Jesse February
12. 2022- WFM Chloe Badenhorst

Each year saw fierce competition and outstanding performances from talented female players.

Dr. Bouah shed light on the origins of the Women’s Section, noting that it started as a separate event before being integrated into the Open section of the Closed Championship. This integration led to the unique naming convention of “Open Closed,” where the Open category welcomes both men and women, while the Women’s section is exclusively for female players.

A significant gap from 2008 to 2013, where no SA Closed events were held for women, prompted questions from players. However, Dr. Bouah expressed relief that this discrepancy has since been rectified, ensuring equal opportunities for female chess enthusiasts.

One of the most memorable moments highlighted by Dr. Bouah was WIM Cecile van der Merwe‘s groundbreaking participation, being the first and only woman to play in the Men’s section of the Closed Championship in 2005. This milestone marked a revolutionary step forward for women’s chess, displaying the skill and determination of female players in competitive settings.

Moreover, Dr. Bouah mentioned Marany Meyer‘s participation in the Open section of the African Championships in 2005, further emphasizing the progressive strides made in women’s chess that year.

The reflections also touched upon broader achievements, such as Raelene Castle‘s historic appointment as CEO of Rugby Australia in 2017. This milestone not only resonated within the sports world but also signified a shift towards greater gender inclusivity and recognition of female leadership in traditionally male-dominated sectors.

The results for the 3rd round of the SA Closed Chess Championship played on the 27th of March, 2024 are below;

Open Section

Ladies Section

Senior Section

Dr. Lyndon Bouah‘s reflections usually offer a compelling narrative of toughness, progress, and broadness within the field of chess, highlighting the transformative impact of talented individuals and the developing settings of gender representation in competitive sports.


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