Reflections on Match Day Three (3) of the 2019 SA Closed by Dr Lyndon Bouah


The event is being held at Curro, Curbanville. The date is 9 December 2019.

Ken Whyld released a book entitled the Guiness Chess the Records in 1986. He lists all the winners of the SA Closed since the event began. I cross referenced with Mr Leonard Reitstein who wrote the History of Chess in South Africa. Whyld gives the following on page 114 :

1892 – Roberts ( Rivett was the joint champion as they played a play off match that was drawn) ( note from myself)

1897 – Roberts  
1899. – Micheal  
1903. – Lee  
1906. – Siegheim  
1910 – Duhan  
1912. – Seigheim  
1920 – Cameron and Chavkin  
1924. – Chavkin  
1926 – Blieden  
1928 – Blieden  
1935- Archer  
1937 – Dreyer  
1939 – Heidenfeld  
1945 – Heidenfeld and Holford  
1947- Heidenfeld  
1949 – Heidenfeld  
1951 – Heidenfeld  
1953 – Eriksen  
1955 – Heidenfeld  
1957 – Heidenfeld  
1959- Heidenfeld and Kirby  
1961 – Gerber  
1963 – Kirby and Van Den Meyden
1965 – Kroon  
1967 – Friedgood  
1969 – Kroon  
1971 – Friedgood  
1973 – Friedgood  
1975 – Kroon and De Villiers  
1977 – Walker and De Villiers  
1979 – Korostenki  
1981 – De Villiers  
1983 – McFarlane.  
1985 – De Villiers and Wolpe. 1986. – Shabier Bhawoodien
    1987 – Deon Pick
1987 – De Villiers 1988 – Maxwell Solomon
1989 – De Villiers. Deon Solomons
1991 No closed Deon Solomons
1993 – Michelakis  
1994 – Solomons  

1995 – Gluckman

1998 – Rubery and Kobese

2000 – Van Der Nat

2001 – Kobese

2003 – Kobese and Solomon

2005 – Van Der Nat

2007 – Steel

2009 – Van Der Nat

2011 – Steel and Kobese

2013- Van Den Heever

2015 – Cawdery

2017 – Mabusela and Klaasen

The player with the most SA Closed titles is Wolfgang Heidenfeld. Between 1939 and 1959 he won the national championship no less than 8 times and on the last occasion according to Rietstein he was also the champion of Ireland. Heidenfeld’s greatest success was in 1955 when he tied with W.J Muhring above ex world champion grandmaster Max Euwe at the Johannesburg International.

Heidenfeld wrote prolifically for the South African Chessplayer and also wrote several books including Lacking the Master Touch, a collection of his own games, and Draw! An acclaimed collection of drawn games from master play. Heidenfeld played in the Olympiad for South Africa and Ireland and his son Mark later represented Ireland as well.

In this day and age we may never have another player dominating with 8 championships over 20 years. De Villiers is second with 6 titles followed by Kobese with four and then a number of players with 3.

From about 1986 two SA Closed chess championships were held. In 1984 a black South African chess body was formed to represent players who believed in non racial chess. This body was known as SACA and later became Capsa. This body staged their own chess

championships as well. Players such as Deon Solomons, Maxwell Solomon, Gordon Lawrence, Shabier Bhawoodien, Jannie Saffier, Mark Lewis, Roland Willenberg, Deon Pick and Lyndon Bouah came from this body.

It is a matter of debate whether the 1993 and 1994 SA Trials were also SA Closed. I am going to submit that they were and must be counted as such because the best players in the country were invited to play and participated in both events. So for the completeness of the record books I am enclosing both those events with winners as well as the winners of the SA Closed played by the black chess body as those records must also be counted.

Let’s have a look at some of the games today. The round started with some headaches for the arbiters as many players were running late because of the power outages. Their opponents however were by and large understanding of the situation and I was so happy to hear Ben Hercules saying in the A section that he came to play chess so he will not claim against Paul Gluckman. So some Fair play awards candidates right here! Paul made it with about two minutes to spare! In the Senior section Andrew Talmarkes also opted not to claim and played against CM Maxwell Solomon. The two players then played a good game and drew their game.

1. In the open section

FM Paul Gluckman played Ben Hercules

Mohammed Bhawoodien played Micheal James. The game ended In a draw but James felt he had more. Mo also felt he was better! James had pressure but an interesting opening!

Roland Bezuidenhout played Keith Khumalo. Roland played a blistering attack against Keith ( who was a wearing a T shirt called Keithonsky! ) and won the game!

Daniel Barrish played Calvin Klaasen. Barrish took down Klaasen In a Positional game which ended in a flurry of tactics. Klaasen played a prophylactic move Kh8 when he said afterward he could’ve gone for pawn to f4 to press an attack possibly.

Matt Pon played Watu Kobese. Matt pressed hard against Watu and had a good position. In the endgame though he lost a pawn which Allowed Watu back in the game with an extra pawn. Tough one for the closed debutant and University champion.

Kenny Solomon is playing De Abreu. Kenny was two pawns on the middle game and ended brilliantly with an exchange sacrifice.

2. In the Women’s section

The big game for me was February vs Selkirk. Two Olympiad players fighting it out. Although black had the exchange in Sicilian White had enough compensation,

Laubscher played Marais.  Marais beat Laubscher in a well played game.

Robyn Van Niekerk played against Du Plessis and won a nice game. In probably a first in fifty years of SA Closed play Du Plessis started with 1.e4 e4 c5 2. b4 cb 3. a3 d5 4. ed Qxd5 the Wing gambit made its appearance at the SA Closed. I will have to go check the records when this variation was last played!

Fisher played against Engelbrecht . Engelbrecht showed that the draw against February last night was no fluke and beat Fisher an experienced senior player.

Charlize Van Zyl beat Dantelle Joubert.

Grobbelaar lost to Wolmarans.

3. In the senior section

Cecil Ohlson racked up his third point today with a good victory against Edwin November. November played the Kings Gambit which Ohlson accepted. Ohlson took the

pawn and got in an early Bh4 check which allowed him to build some pressure on the King side. So Ohlson is the man to watch there!

Southey played against Roland Willenberg

Andre Schutte played against Glenn Willenberg

Maxwell Solomon played against Andrew Talmarkes. Tough game for Maxwell. Andrew Talmarkes registered his first half point!

Gerrit Meiboom played against Deon Pick. They drew their game although I thought Meiboom had a good position with Pick playing around his back ranks!

  • Defending champion Mark Lewis picked up his first win against Stephen Gallied.
  • The B section has many exciting games with players competing hard for the spots!

6. The women B section

7. The Under twenty section

See you at four pm at Curro Durbanville.


Dr Lyndon Bouah


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