Left back: Cst Kgosimotswedi, Sgt M Aphane (Team Captain), W/O(f) R Smith W/O Mudau, Cst Mthombeni, Cst Mamahotsa, Second row from left: SAC(f) MM Ramolobeng , LB Mogongwa ,Capt. ER McCarthy, Capt(f) E Vilakazi, Cst(f) N Makamu, W/O (f) G Netshimbupfe Front row from left: Sgt T Tongwane (Deputy Chairman) and Sgt Phahlane (Chairman)

The annual SAPS Chess Championship was hosted at the Forever Resort, Gariep Dam Free State Province. The tournament was well attended with teams of 14 SAPS members from all nine Provinces and the SAPS Head Office totalling 140 players in the championship.

The first SAPS Chess Championship was hosted in 2006 with only 60 players and has since grown to a championship with a high standard and level of excellent chess individuals.

The great Chess World Champion Bobby Fischer ones said “All that matters on a chessboard is good moves” and indeed throughout the tournament we had great games, games that stunt us as we witnessed how SAPS members performing at their best levels fighting to win the highest Chess SAPS title


Gariep Dam is located in the Free State in the Xhariep Municipality established in 1965-66. We had the privilege to visit the dam and tour this great work of engineering art and skill. Walking down through the tunnels leading to the bottom of the dam wall a person don’t realize that it is 365 steps going down but after experiencing the excitement of the interesting and great machinery at work going back up, is the most challenging part. The tournament was hosted at Forever Resort that is on the bank of the dam.

The tournament were played in the following format:

A) Individual Event:

Ø Open men section Ø Open female section

80 players

60 players

B)  Team Event:

  • “10 Provinces” each with 14 players (8 men and 6 woman)

The SWISS system with FIDE tournaments rules and standards were applied. The tournament was registered with CHESSA and the results thereof can be viewed online at: (RSA)

The Chief Arbiter was Mr Piet Van Zyl the Chief Arbiter assisted by the Tournament Director Captain Elmien Van Rooyen:

  • Standard games with time control of 60/60 minutes per game.
  • Four games per day totalling 9 games for the Individual event and 9 Round Robin games for the Team event.

The Championship was opened by Major General Jones who welcomed us to the Free State Province that is as he described a Province in the centre of RSA. A province that is neighbouring to other provinces and countries. A province with great potential, excellent communities and a big responsibility to produce food to feed the nation.

Captain Khoza, Captain Van Rooyen, Maj General Jones and Brigadier Slabbert

The local Chaplain from SAPS Xhariep Cluster, graced us with a powerful spiritual message. His message was entitled “Find the champion within the champion” based on the historic biblical story of David and Goliath.

“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement, knowing when to punch and how to duck” – Bobby Fischer

“Chess demands total concentration” – Bobby Fischer

“You can only get good at chess if you love the game” – Bobby Fischer

“The beauty of chess is it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. Whatever your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death over the board.” – Simon Williams

To our sponsors to all provincial teams we say thank you very much for empowering us to do give back to the communities. We appreciate your contribution. The NEC together with players from WC, FS, NC and KZN visited Oranjekrag Middelbare School where they donated 20 chess sets. This school is located in the local township Bethulli and serve a very poor community. SAPS members took time out to teach and introduced kids to this wonderful game. They encouraged learners to learn this beautiful game that will sharpen your discipline, your strategically thinking and ethical behaviour. The kids were having a great time with the Police members and yet again good relations were build. This was an excellent opportunity to give back to our community and inspire kids with a message that poverty cannot hold you down.

I cannot end this report without applauding and praising Bonnie Mcmurtie from WC. She is a remarkable athlete. She is blind and uses a brail chess board to play. She has an amazing memory as she visualizes each move played in her games. She is a tough competitor and believe me she is not a “run over”.

At the Gala evening we were praised for yet another memorable and good SAPS Chess Championship by the guest of honour Maj General Makhubo. He delivered the keynote address and in his profound speech he illustrated the values a sports person learns in participating in sport. He expressed the support received from top SAPS management towards chess.

It was a joyous occasion with all players dressed smart formal and excited to applaud the winners, receive their awards and celebrate the end of a fantastic Championship. As the awards was given the crowd cheered as the winners went up to collect their medals. The key aspect of a great sportsman is to except defeat, get up practice and try again.

The winners for the Woman Individual Section were announced and it was a closed call between Gauteng`s best performing lady at this championship, Constable Makamu and Eastern Cape Colonel Cox for the number one spot. Both scored 8 points in the Individuals. Const. Makamu only lost her games to Col Cox in the Individual as well as the Team Events. Her final score was 16 games won out of 18. She has earned her place in the SAPS National Chess Team that will represent SAPS at the SA Open 2019, the Capablanca Chess Festival 2019 and the SARPCO Games 2019.

It was a joyous moment when the winners of the Individual Men Section were announced.

All eyes were on Mr Valashia as his team mates carried him to the centre stage.

The top 30 SAPS Chess National Team were announced. (20 males and 10 females). They

are as follows:                                 Woman                                               Men

Gauteng Chess Knights received the following awards:

Const Mthembeni        : Bronze medal for Board 1 and National Team

Sgt Apane                        : Bronze medal in Individual Tournament and National Team

Sgt Tongwane               : Silver Medal for Board 6

  • W/O(f) Netshimbupfe: Silver medal Board 11, 4th Position for Woman Individuals

and were selected for the National Team

Sgt Phahlane                  : Bronze medal for Board 5

W/O Mudau                   : Selected for the National Team

  • Const Kgosimotswedi : Selected for the National Team

W/O(f) R Smith           : Gold medal for Board 12

Const(f) Makamu        : Gold medal board 9, selected for the National Team and 2nd

Position in the Individual Woman Event

Captain McCarthy

: Bronze medal for board 7 and Best National Development Officer 2018

The Team events were very tight. Western Cape tried by all means to defend their 2017 SAPS National Champs Title but they were unable to hold on to it. They drew 7-7 against Free State, Drew 7-7 against Eastern Cape and won Gauteng the 2015 and 2016 Champs in a nail biting 6.5 – 7.5 match. Gauteng`s loss against Free State gave Free State the edge to clinched the title. Gauteng`s last team match against Eastern Cape was a must win or draw for Gauteng in order to obtain the 3rd place. The build up towards the match had all its bells and whistles as players stood up against each other to fight for the 3rd spot. EC was leading 7-6 to GP with the final game between T Tongwane from GP and V Prins from EC. The crowd gathered around the chessboard as these two players battled it out to the end. Every move was an important one and every move must be the best move. The game pieces was equal but Tongwane playing white had better position. He used this to his advantage and by a serious of checks, chased the fleeing black King into the middle of the board. This caused black to make the ultimate blunder to place his King in the same open file as his Queen. White then skewered check the black King and snatched the Queen at the back. Prins continued and tried to fight back but another blunder caused him to lose his Rook and ultimately the game. GP then got the most needed draw and clinched the 3rd spot.


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