Observations from the UCT Chess Club Chairperson By Ursula Hardie


It is with much pride that I can state that the Cape in many ways dominated USSA this year. UWC and UCT, though outshone by the highly trained TUTS (UP) players, in terms of numbers and growing strength the WP dominated South African University Chess in 2019.

Shaheed has already made an article on the results and overall experience of the USSA ’19, so I will try to add a few more comments focused on player upsets, the Blitz etc.

USSA is a tournament that is difficult to predict due to ratings. For many universities, this is one of the only tournaments that their players get to perform in. Hence, upsets and underestimation of lower-rated players is prolific. For UCT this has caused pain for both the club and the other teams… but predominantly in favour of UCT.

UCT Chess Club

Open Section

The open section for USSA 2019 UCT placed 2nd Overall. UCT may not have had the strongest players but all the players we brought were strong. Some of the greatest games have been analysed further on in the document. This tournament was an incredible achievement for the boys… its been a long time since UCT caused so many upsets in 9 rounds.

Luka, Elliot1131795
Lilitha Hempe2061739
Sachin Hastie24341700
Tibor Trepper521411523

From Left to right: Shane Willenberg, Andrew McInnes (Coach), Tibor Trepper (Deputy Chairperson), Professor Shabangu, Hopewell Fakude, Innocent Mtombeni, Luka Elliot, Nkululeko Mbhele, Yashkar Balkamahun, Lilitha Hempe, Sachin Hastie, Thapelo Matsaung, Melissa Awu (USSA acting Chairperson 2019 and UCT chess manager), Ursula Hardie (Chairperson).

Female Section

Talia Ndlovu761312
Anusha Alex2639976
India Babb4338882
Ursula Hardie8258663
Banda Promise991270
Stella Buley1011310
Cailin O’Brien1271070

In the female section UCT brought 9 players with only the top 5 being used to tally up points. This year the female team did incredibly well, coming 4th overall. This is a massive improvement from previous years. We have many new players, hence why we brought more players than necessary. UCT female chess is getting stronger and stronger… watch this space.

UWC Chess Club

This made CT proud with it’s 2nd place in female section and 3rd place overall, merely ½ a point behind UCT. This club continues to be very friendly towards UCT and we commend the club on always being strong and healthy competition.


 Kaylyn Fritz231510
 Tegan Fritz541413
 Pharin Philander15131137
 Marichion Kroukamp4955850
 Nokubonga Mntombi7463724


Keegan Agulhas641949
Christopher Londt38111605
Shane Willenberg24381715
Ruben Diamond43471576
Minenhle Junior18631752
Shaheed Tobias96801316
Austin Haai94921319
Tynashe Kondo107971270
Menwe Ofentse1931310

UWC Chess club, 2nd Place Female section

UWC Chess club, 3rd place overall

UCT Players to watch

Innocent (Ntuthuko ‘Innocent’ Mthombeni)

“It was a great experience playing against higher rated players. That’s why I’m so eager to come back next year to prove my worth”

I’m sure Steinitz remembers this player from 2019 WP League. He played board 8 in R8 winning against Denise Bouah, who at the time had a rating 409 points above innocent. The round ended with Innocent claiming the only point back from Steinitz. I hoped this year at USSA innocent would gain some more experience playing long classical games but also would cause a few more upsets… he has the talent the drive and the ability. All he needs to play. It’s easy to see that though not the

expected win in most of his games he is still taking names. Watch this player. His momentum and love for chess is not going to falter soon.

Lilitha Hempe

‘Next time I’ll come back stronger”

Lilitha has been a consistently strong player for UCT but really performed in this particular tournament. Not many 1700 players can hold composure against 2000+ players. In both round 4 and 7 he showed what he is made of dominating the games in both instances, even though Matt Pon managed to hold on in round 4. Lilitha finished 6th overall from a starting rank of 20.

Luka Elliot

“I am very proud of my achievement of finishing third. It was one of the best tournaments I have ever played. I am motivated to come back next year and try to win the tournament.”

Luka was one of our highest point scorers in WP League and continued to prove he is only going up by coming 3rd in the USSA from a starting rank of 11. He is a tactful, considered player who has the experience to come back and perhaps make the international team next year. Well done Luka! You have continued to be committed and make us proud.

Talia Ndlovu

“I’m coming back with a killer instinct”

Talia, tenatious and incredible under pressure, performed very well this year (as she did last year) drawing to both Rene and Cora from TUKS. She came 6th overall from a starting rank of 7. Talia is one of the most promising female player on the UCT side and though she can be underestimated with a 1300 rating the draws against the two ±1500 UP girls shows that she is a force to be reconned with.

Notable games

Full Notations of games available at end of document

Abdarahim Salem (1962, CPUT) – Thapelo Matsaung (1641, UCT)


(Round 3, Board 5)

In preparation for this game, in light of the fact that Thapelo knew Salem was likely to castle queenside, an unorthodox h6 g6 idea was cooked up (with the help of Mr McInnes). Salem had a monster performance in the 2019 WP League, there was a plan needed to take Salem out of his comfort zone.

The position along side is move 32, white to move. Black has a slight edge here albeit a chaotic position. Thapelo finished 17th overall, from a starting rank of 32nd.

Xolani Cebo Mathebula (1882, SOL) – Ntuthuko (Innocent) Mthombeni (1481, UCT) 0-1

(Round 2, Board 8)

This was a massive upset for Xolani, however an exceptional result for Innocent. Clawing his way back from an unfavourable opening exit, Innocent entered a tedious endgame 2 pawns down. However, he had momentum and his tenacity and accuracy in the double rook end game is a beauty to behold.

White to move in position alongside, move 31.

Lilitha Hempe (1739, UCT) – Matt Pon (2180, WITS)


Round 4, Board 1

Lilitha stepped up to the task of playing the eventual tournament winner and seed No. 1. The graph alongside shows whites dominance in the game, however as many of us painfully know it is the final moves that count. But credit where credit is due: Lilitha deserves to be celebrated for his cunning, immaculate performance.

Lilitha came out of the opening with a superior position and proceeded to control the game for the next 30 moves. Pon fought tooth and nail to hold on. However, he held composure and eventually edged Lilitha out while both were in time trouble. The

In the final move, a crushing blunder for the Board 1 player, Lilitha lost his queen in a favourable end game for black. Matt Pon after Lilitha’s resignation stated that he was about to concede to a draw. Chess is never forgiving.

The position alongside shows white to move, move 38.

Rene De Beer (1460, UP) – Talia Ndlovu (1312, UCT)

1/2 – 1/2

Talia had a tough opponent being on of the strong TUKS ladies. A closed Catalan structure surprisingly lead to a game with many imbalances. Talia fended off the kingside attack comfortably and simplified to a winning but very tricky endgame. Rene kept the heat up and under pressure Talia took a perpetual to keep a half point. A good performance for Talia.

Lilitha Hempe (1739, UCT) vs Roberto De Abreu (2140, UP)


After narrowly losing to Matt Pon, Lilitha was soon set to play another TUKS champion, Roberto De Abreu. A closed French structure lead to complicated Queenside fight with both players seeing no need to castle. Some confusing tactics and a queen sacrifice caused enough tension for Roberto to slip…

This coupled with Lilitha’s endgame skills lead him to have one of the biggest upsets in the tournament! An incredible result for Lilitha: Not many 1700s can hold tension against a 2100. The loss after Matt Pon was redeemed.

The board beside us shows the board after move 40, white to play. A complex situation.

USSA Blitz 2019

The Blitz which took place on the Wednesday when only round was played. Below one can see the starting rank and the final rank, with Mfundo (UP) protecting his title of 1st place. This traditional event had a large turnout, with 9 rounds and 3min+2 time control.

From UCTs Side:

Andrew McInnes has chances and misses the title in last round on board 1

Congrats to Mfundo on defending his USSA Blitz title”

“I am extremely proud of the Performance of the UCT girls”

Andrew McInnes, former UCT Chess Chairperson, joined us to specifically focus on our female players and help with general analysis. Undoubtably, we performed better with his support and passion to help our players analyse. However, Andrew managed to find a way to play… the 2019 USSA Blitz. Andrew, who is a well-known player in WP, really took no prisoners in the Blitz winning 7 out of 9 games.

In the penultimate round Andrew beat the only undefeated player Mthandazo on board 1. If he had maintained this win into the next round, he would have taken the tournament. But of course, chess is a cruel and humbling mistress. Andrew lost the last round narrowly to

Mfundo (VUT) who defended his USSA Blitz title. Buchholz decided Andrew should come 4th (just a place away from some prize money… he doesn’t like to talk about it). UCT will be using Andrew to maintain the growing strength in the team next year.

Thanks to the USSA committee for organising such a successful event. A big congratulations to my team and UWC for the brilliant performances.

We will only be coming back stronger and with more experience for USSA 2020 …hopefully closer to home…

Ursula Hardie

UCT Chess Club Chairperson

PNGs of games

(1) Salem,Abdarahim (1962) – Matsaung,Thapelo (1641)

2019 USSA Championships Rhodes University, Grahamstow (3.5), 03.12.2019

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 a6 6.Bb3 d6 7.h3 h6 8.Nbd2 Qe7 9.Nf1 g6 10.Be3 Ba7

11.Qd2 Bxe3 12.fxe3 Be6 13.Bc2 d5 14.exd5 Bxd5 15.e4 Be6 16.Ng3 0–0–0 17.b4 h5 18.Qe3 h4

19.Ne2 Nh5 20.a4 Bd7 21.b5 Nb8 22.Rb1 axb5 23.axb5 b6 24.c4 Rde8 25.0–0 Rhg8 26.d4 exd4

27.Nfxd4 f5 28.Nc3 f4 29.Qf3 Ng3 30.Rfe1 g5 31.Kh2 Qe5 32.Nde2 Ref8 33.Qd3 Be6 34.Nxg3 hxg3+

35.Kh1 g4 36.Nd5 Rh8 37.Ne7+ Kb7 38.Ng6 Qh5 39.Nxh8 gxh3 40.Re2 hxg2+ 41.Kxg2 f3+ 42.Kxg3 fxe2 43.Kg2 Qg4+ 44.Qg3 Qxg3+ 45.Kxg3 Rf1 46.Bd3 Rxb1 47.Bxe2 Rc1 48.e5 Bxc4 49.Bg4 Bxb5 50.e6 Nc6 51.Ng6 Re1 52.Kf2 Rc1 53.e7 Nxe7 54.Nxe7 Rc5 55.Nf5 Bc6 56.Ke3 b5 57.Nd4 b4 58.Kd3 Rc3+ 59.Kd2 Kb6 60.Be2 Ba4 61.Bd3 c5 62.Ne2 Ra3 63.Nc1 Bb5 64.Be4 c4 65.Kc2 Rh3 66.Na2 b3+


(2) Mathebula,Xolani Cebo (1882) – Mthombeni,Ntuthuko (1481)

2019 USSA Championships Rhodes University, Grahamstow (2.8), 02.12.2019

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Nf6 6.f4 Be7 7.Nf3 d5 8.e5 Ng8 9.0–0 Nh6 10.Qe1 Nf5

11.b3 h5 12.Na4 Ba6 13.c4 h4 14.Ba3 Nd4 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Qf2 dxc4 18.dxc4 h3 19.g3

c5 20.f5 Bb7 21.fxe6 fxe6 22.Nxc5 0–0–0 23.Nxb7 Qxb7 24.Qf3 Qb6 25.Qa8+ Kd7 26.Rf7+ Ke8

27.Qxa7 Qxa7 28.Rxa7 d3 29.Rd1 Rh5 30.Ra5 Rf5 31.Rb5 d2 32.Rb6 Rxe5 33.Kf2 Ke7 34.Rb7+ Kf6

35.g4 Kg6 36.Kg3 Re1 37.Rxd2 Rxd2 38.c5 e5 39.Kh4 Rxh2 40.Rb6+ Kh7 41.Kg3 Rhe2 42.g5 h2


(3) Hempe,Lilitha (1739) – Pon,Matt (2180)

2019 USSA Championships Rhodes University, Grahamstown (4.1), 03.12.2019

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Ngf3 Nc6 7.Nb3 a5 8.a4 cxd4 9.Nbxd4 Bc5 10.c3 Qb6

11.Bb5 0–0 12.0–0 f6 13.Kh1 Ndb8 14.exf6 Rxf6 15.Be3 Bd7 16.Qc2 Nxd4 17.cxd4 Bf8 18.Bd3 h6

19.Ne5 Qd8 20.Rf3 Be8 21.Rg3 Nc6 22.Ng4 Nb4 23.Nxf6+ Qxf6 24.Qe2 Rc8 25.Rf1 Bd6 26.Bb1 Rc7

27.Rc1 Rxc1+ 28.Bxc1 Bf7 29.Rc3 Nc6 30.Be3 Bxf4 31.Bg1 Bg6 32.Bxg6 Qxg6 33.Rf3 Bd6 34.Qb5 Qe4

35.Qxb7 Nxd4 36.Qc8+ Kh7 37.Re3 Qb1 38.Qc3 Nf5 39.Rxe6 Bb4 40.Qe5 Qd3 41.Qf4 Qb1 42.Qf2 Qd3

43.g4 Nd6 44.g5 hxg5 45.Qg2 Qf5 46.Re7 Ne4 47.Rc7 Qf4 48.Qh3+ Kg6 49.Rc6+ Nf6 50.Qd3+ Kf7

51.Qe3 Qf5 52.Rc7+ Kg6 53.Qe2 d4 54.Rc1 d3 55.Qg2 d2 56.Rd1 Qc2 57.Qg4 Nxg4


(5) De Beer,Rene (1460) – Ndlovu,Talia (1312)

2019 USSA Championships Rhodes University, Grahamstown (5.3), 04.12.2019

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 c6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Nf3 0–0 7.0–0 Nbd7 8.Bf4 dxc4 9.a4 Nd5 10.e4 Nxf4 11.gxf4 Rb8 12.Nd2 b5 13.Qc2 a6 14.e5 Qb6 15.Nf3 Bb7 16.Ne4 c5 17.Neg5 g6 18.Rad1 Bxg5 19.dxc5 Nxc5 20.Rd6 Qc7 21.Nxg5 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Nxa4 23.b3 Qb7+ 24.Kg1 Nb6 25.bxc4 Nxc4 26.Rd4 Rfd8 27.Rfd1 Rxd4 28.Rxd4 Rc8 29.Qb3 Na5 30.Qb2 h6 31.Ne4 Qc6 32.Nf6+ Kg7 33.Rd6 Qb7 34.Rd4 Nc6

35.Rd7 Qa8 36.Qb3 b4 37.Qxe6 Ne7 38.Qb3 Rc1+ 39.Rd1 Rxd1+ 40.Qxd1 a5 41.Qd7 Nc6 42.Ne8+ Kf8

43.Nd6 Ne7 44.Qa4 Nd5 45.Qd7 Ne7 46.Qh3 h5 47.Qd7 a4 48.e6 fxe6 49.Qxe6 Qd5 50.Qf6+ Kg8

51.Qxe7 Qd1+ 52.Kg2 Qg4+


Hempe,LH – De Abreu,R

USSA 2019, 12.12.2019

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Qd7 5.Qg4 f5 6.Qg3 b6 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Qxc3 Ba6 9.Ne2 Ne7 10.h4 Nbc6

11.Bg5 h6 12.Bd2 g6 13.b4 Bc4 14.a4 Kf7 15.Rg1 a6 16.Nc1 Bxf1 17.Kxf1 Rag8 18.Rh1 a5 19.b5 Nd8

20.Rb1 Kf8 21.Ne2 Rg7 22.g3 Kg8 23.Nf4 Kh7 24.Bc1 Nf7 25.Ba3 Rc8 26.Qb3 c6 27.bxc6 Rxc6 28.Kg2 Rg8 29.Rhc1 Rgc8 30.c3 R8c7 31.Qb5 Nc8 32.h5 g5 33.Ng6 Qe8 34.Rb3 Nh8 35.c4 dxc4 36.Rxc4 Na7 37.Qxb6 Rxc4 38.Nf8+ Kg8 39.Nxe6 R4c6 40.Nxc7 Rxb6 41.Rxb6 Qd7 42.Bd6 Nc8 43.e6 Qxd6

44.Rxd6 Nxd6 45.d5 g4 46.Nb5 Nb7 47.Nd4 Nd6 48.Nc6 Kg7 49.Nxa5 Kf6 50.Nc6 Nhf7 51.exf7 Kxf7

52.Nd4 Kf6 53.a5 Ke5 54.a6 Nc8 55.Nc6+ Kd6 56.a7 Nb6 57.Nd4 Ke5 58.d6 f4 59.d7



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