Reflections on Day 1 of the SA Closed 2019 by Dr Lyndon Bouah


The event that is currently being contested at Curro high school in Durbanville, Cape Town will also decide the participants at the various events that Chessa is entitled to send players. The first event that Chess South Africa will decide upon is the Olympiad which takes place in August in Russia. The city is Moscow and is world-famous for hosting many big chess events over the last 100 years. The top two players automatically qualify for the Olympiad team whilst the other places are decided by Grand Prix, and preference is then given to the high rated players thereafter ( whether they played in the event or not ) with the caveat that they had to be active in the period leading up to the SA Closed. An anomaly, of course, exists in the selection policy in that a player that qualifies may end up going to the Olympiad not having played sufficient events. I favor a further clause that will force the players chosen to play in the Olympiad to play a further number of games to remain match fit. Perhaps readers can suggest this number for Chessa to consider.

The various events that the winner in the Open and Women section also qualify for include:

  1. The Zone 4.3 championship which normally takes place in April each year. I sincerely hope that South Africa can send players in 2020 as no representatives travelled to Madagascar in 2019. South Africa has been very successful in this event winning a number of titles since 2014. This event will not be a qualifier for the World Cup in 2020 so many of the top players may decide to give it a miss but it is still a great norm opportunity event.
  • The African Individual Chess Championships normally takes place between May and July each year and will ensure that players will have a busy season prior to the Olympiad. This event decides the best player in Africa and has been dominated by the Egyptians. In 2019 Grandmaster Kenny Solomon and FM Calvin Klaasen represented South Africa in the Open section with WIM Jesse February representing South Africa in the Women section.
  • The Commonwealth chess championship normally takes place in India somewhere in June each year. To the best of my knowledge South Africa had no senior representation at the event although we sent full junior teams. South Africa is also entitled to send an over sixty player (with full accommodation covered) to this event in India. In 2018 Dr. Andrew Southey won the title as Commonwealth Senior Champion in India. I take this opportunity to wish Dr Southey and his wife well when they celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary on 18 December 2019. Dr. Southey you are an inspiration to all of us.

Dr. Southey

  • In the Senior Section there are two events that the players will qualify for. In 2019 the World Individual Senior championship took place in Romania with the famous Grandmaster Vaganian winning the over 65 event with a better tiebreak.

GM Vaganian)

In the over fifty section GM Vadim Shishkin won the event. Some famous grandmasters played in the over fifty section. This event will be held in Assisi, Italy in 2020. South Africa in 2019 had no representative at this event.

  • The World Senior team championship took place in 2019 with no South African representation. In 2018 South Africa sent a team and I sincerely hope that South Africa can send a team in March 2020 to Prague, Czech Republic. The event date is 5-15 March 2020. (Beware the Ides of March !) If South Africa wishes to send a team, they will have to do the planning immediately following the SA Closed event.
  • The winner of the SA Closed B section normally received an invitation but in recent times they needed to fulfil a specific Chessa rating of 2050. (players have until August 2021 to fulfil this criterion. In the women’s section the women’s B winner must obtain a rating of 1850. In the last two closed events the winners were unable to fulfil this category and missed out on this great opportunity.
  • The winners of the Under 20 section will qualify for the FIDE World Under twenty championship. This event is normally held over 13 rounds and is a tough event with many grandmasters of a young age already representing their country. The event however allows our players to test their mettle against the very best in the world.

8. Review of the match Day one:

8.1 Open section

GM Kenny Solomon and Matt Pon , the University champion played a positional game in which GM Kenny pressed but Pon also pressed back. The players drew after both had a passed pawn on the seventh.

IM Watu Kobese and Daniel Barrish played a rough and tumble game in the true Kobese champion. At various stages I wasn’t sure who winning! At the end they drew with some exciting play which the spectators appreciated.

FM Ben Hercules and FM Roland Bezuidenhout played a tactical game in which Bezuidenhout was the exchange up for some time. They drew the game although Roland pressed hard. Bezuidenhout tried some new moves in a standard queen’s gambit! Enterprising play!

FM Calvin Klaasen drew with FM Mohammed Bhawoodien after Bhawoodien had some pressure on the queen side.

Paul Gluckman beat Micheal James in a well-played game by Gluckman. He was attacking throughout after James made an early tactical blunder losing the exchange.

De Abreu and Khumalo drew their game after many adventures. De Abreu was pressing but Khumalo was having a huge time advantage.

8.2 Women’s section B section

Michealla and Anna Belle Ellman drew their game

Caitlyn Olckers lost to with Ameera Yacoob.

Zoe beat Trinity.

8.3 Senior Section

The game for the fastest and possibly shortest in the event was between defending champion Mark Lewis and CM Maxwell Solomon. CM Solomon and Mark Lewis have a long history going back over three decades. Their games are normally fighting matches but, in this event, the wily warriors decided to strategise and conserve their energy.

The drawn position

Gerrit Meiboom beat Andrew Talmarkes. He forked on c7 early and after that Talmarkes was a rook down. In other words, became Roekeloos! Gerrit is the brother of a famous SA player called Kees Meiboom who played in three SA Closed events about three decades ago.

Edwin November essayed his usual Stonewall which led after some attacking play by both sides ended in a draw against Roland Willenberg.

Glenn Willenberg lost to Cecil Ohlson. Glenn had an early double pawn which didn’t help his cause.

Andre Schutte making his debut at this event beat Stephen Gallied in a French. Even in a Queen less middle game the white player pushed hard.

Dr. Andrew Southey beat Deon Pick in an exciting game. Of course, Dr Southey couldn’t resist sacrificing a knight as usual!

8.4 SA Closed B section – open

Tenth seed Shevern Govender (1777) shocked the field in round one when he beat Lizo Sikwati (2057) the second seed. Govender impressed me with his endgame play to finish the game.

Justin Lynch beat the SA Under 18 Champion Nico Martin in a well-played game!

Kenny Willenberg beat Duminasani Nkosi in a wild game. It was very exciting with both kings under some pressure.

Dr Simphiwe Baloyi drew with Junior Macwabe. The position had a very positional touch with both players playing some good moves!

Jacobs beat Bosse in a Caro Kann.

FM Bhawoodien drew in round one against Kuhla in a five-hour marathon.

Cherwin Kleinsmidt drew with David Baxter.

8.5. SA Closed Premier section women

WIM Jesse February started her defence by defeating WFM Dantelle Joubert. They played a king pawn game in which White had some good pressure.

WIM Jesse February

WIM Charlize Van Zyl beat Jacqui Grobbelaar in a well-played game. Grobbelaar didn’t castle and this led to her downfall.

WIM Anzel Laubscher beat WFM Michelle Fisher in a tactical game.

Anika Du Plessis beat H. Engelbrecht.

Nina Marais drew with Wolmarans.

2014 Olympiad player Robyn Van Niekerk beat 2018 Olympiad player WCM Rebecca Selkirk in a well-played game.

8.6 Under twenty section girls

8.7 Under twenty section open

The next round starts at four pm!


Dr Lyndon Bouah


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