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Namibian schools championships

Julian Isaaks is the junior champion of Namibia. McLean Handjaba reports that “The Namibian National Junior Closed Chess Championship brought a lot of excitement and a thrilling battle of the minds as 53 youngsters from all over the country fought head-to-head for in Windhoek over the weekend (July 26-28) at Academia Secondary School. “A National Junior Chess Champion emerged from each age group during the three daylong tourney.” From the start of the tournament all eyes were on Julian Isaaks as tournament favourite in the Open U/20 section and the promising youngsters came out on top as National Junior Chess Champ followed by William Kamberipa in 2nd place and Willem Louw in 3rd.Uatjiri Hewicke was victorious in the U/8 section as he came in half a point ahead a promising Isabelle Els from Pro-ed Academy. Aldo Horn won the U/10 section with an unbeaten score of 7/7. First time winner Iwann du Toit from Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool came out top in the U/12 section, while Mubasen /Hochobeb clinched the U/14 title. The U/16 section saw a female champion when the former Namibian Women’s Chess Champion Nicola Tjaronda annihilated all her male opponents and scoring an amazing 7/7. Immanuel Gariseb continued on with his tradition of always taking home a prize when he won the U/18 section.

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World Junior Champion wins in Cape Town

The World Junior Champion was a clear first in Cape Town’s first international tournament in 30 years. Alexander Ipatov, 20, won the DSK GM norm event at the German School in Tamboers Kloof. Ipatov also won most of his games in a 20-player simultaneous exhibition. (I was one of his victims.) Although South Africans filled the bottom of the table, Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe and Elijah Emojong of Uganda did the continent proud. The final scores were: 1 GM Alexander Ipatov rated 2583 8 out of nine; 2 GM Sergei Tiviakov 2654 7; 3 GM Marc T Arnold 2525 5.5; 4 IM Robert Gwaze 2433 5; 5 GM Raj Tischbierek 2422 5; 6 GM Sergey Kasparov 2470 5; 7 IM Elijah Emojong 2311 4.5; 8 FM Daniel Cawdery 2345 4.5; 9 GM Kivanc Haznedaroglu 2417 4; 10 IM David Gluckman 2250 3.5; 11 FM Donovan van den Heever 2280 3.5; 12 IM Watu Kobese 2343 3; 13 FM Charles de Villiers 2255 3; 14 FM Deon Solomons 2179 1.5.

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Tiviakov berates SA Chess

An unscripted extra took place at the opening ceremony at the DSK Open in Cape Town. Attended by minister Dr Ivan Meyer and other dignitaries. Grandmaster Sergei Tiviakov seized the opportunity to berate the organization of South African chess for not making much progress towards lifting its best juniors to compete with the likes of Ipatov. The former Soviet star said that a permanent academy presided over by a top international trainer, as is still the case in Russia, where the chess students would be hand-picked for their burgeoning talents and given a lengthy full-time course was the way to go. Director general of sport in the Western Cape, Advocate Lyndon Bouah told me that he had taken Tiviakov’s message to heart. If the SA Chess Academy comes to fruition, it will be the greatest reward from the DSK tournament. Send your news to thechessnik@gmail.com

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Uganda national teams league in full swing

The National Chess League which took a break last weekend to pave way for the Dar es Salaam Open is set to resume this Sunday 23 rd June 2013 at Hotel Africana with early pace setters Sanlam taking on MUBS and Barclays Chess Clubs in the seventh and eighth rounds. Current placings: 1 Sanlam Chess Club 2 DMARK Chess Club 3 Lweza Kings 4 Mulago Knights 5 City Chess Club 6 Mulago Kings 7 Mulago Overs 8 Mengo Chess Club 9 Civil Aviation Authority 10 Mulago Rooks 11 Makindye Chess Club 12 UCU Knights 13 Kireka Chess Club 14 Mulago Queens 15 Rainbow International School 16 Entebe Knight Mares 17 Barclays Chess Club 18 Makerere University 19 UCU Queens 20 Mulago Pawns 21 MUBS Chess Club 22 Enkabi Chess Club

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Tanzania hosts Spicenet Championship

After an epic story of overcoming adversity, the one-time handmade soap maker, Vinay Choudary, now owner of Tanzania’s top internet provider, organized the Spicenet Open Chess Championship in Tanzania, and invited chess ambassadors GM Nigel Short and WGM Alina L’Ami to honor the event and give it a touch of class. L’Ami, a Romanian, writes on Chessbase “It was a warning for me that I shouldn’t blindly believe everything that’s on TV, which most of the times is just partially true. Most people live in the 21st century (including Tanzania). “Chess in Tanzania was dormant for more than 15 years, present but not in the spotlight; it was time for something to be done. And once again, things happened differently than what one (or his preconceptions) might expect. This is the first time I hear that a sponsor goes to a chess federation and not the other way around. And probably for the first time in the history of FIDE, a tournament is held before the organizing federation was asking for affiliation. In fact, the tournament was held under the patronage of the chess federation of Uganda, which is a FIDE member already and has previously allowed Tanzanian players to participate in various tournaments under the Ugandan flag as well. “The brain behind the entire operation is the Indian Vinay Choudary, the owner of Spicenet. His personal story is as tumultuous and surprising as the sudden Tanzanian chess wakening. At 16 he left home, driven by his enthusiastic and creative business ideas: making soap according to a certain formula was one of them – he failed. “Returning home, he found himself in debt and with a family to look after. But not everyone is allergic to the idea of failure; he switched to a completely new field: dairy products, then teaching, then heard about a job in Tanzania which proved to be nonexistent… Once here though, he fell back on a vertical position, like a tumbler toy. Today Spicenet, his internet provider company, is one of the most stable and reliable on the market.” As expected Nigel Short on Six won from Elijah Emojong of Uganda, Kelvin Chumfwa, Zambia, Haruna Nsubuga, Uganda and Reddy Deepthamsh, India on five.

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Zambian heads for World Cup

The Swedish embassy has sponsored Gillan Bwalya who hammerd our players in Botswans last month, with $3000 to make it possible for him to attend the 2013 World Chess Cup in Tromso, Norway. The Chess World Cup 2013 is a 128-player chess single-elimination tournament, which will be played between August 10 and September 5.. The Swedish ambassador, Lena Nordstrom., announced her country’s decision last Saturday. to have a Zambian chess player among the 128 best in the World. Ambassador Nordstrom said “ The Swedish Embassy is very happy to be able to help Gillian Bwalya to make his Dream come true.” Bwalya won the 2013 National Individual Chess championship ahead of high-rated International Master, Daniel Jere in Mansa. Bwalya, who had dropped to third place on Easter Sunday, won his round eight and nine games to tie on seven points with Jere at the end of the tournament held at the Henry Courtyard Lodge. However, Bwalya, who received K3,000 top prize, was declared winner as he had won more games than Jere, who got K1,500, and also had a lower ranking.

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Latest news from Africa June 21

South African players did not fare too well at the recent continental championship. So what should we do to advance our talented, but under-performing players? In the old Soviet days the Russian Federation were effective but pretty ruthless in ensuring that stars from Botvinnik to Kasparov progressed from talented amateurs to world class champions. How did they do it? Established grandmasters had to earn their keep by taking a junior under their wings and become their coaches and mentors. The great Mikhail Tal had Koblents, Anatoli Karpov, Furman. Then step by step the rising players played head-to-head matches against opponents stronger than their current rating. This all takes money, but if Chess South Africa wants to advance the strength of such as Kenny Solomon, that is where our budget should be directed, not at junkets for officials. * * * I have been asking for chess news from our continent. Namibia has a new champion Goodwill Khoa, 23.The nine-round tournament was held at the Protea Thuringerhof Hotel in Windhoek over the Easter weekend. Khoa drew with last year’s champion Charles Eichab, a frequent visitor to South Africa, and also drew with the tournament favourite Otto Nakapunda in the final. Following Khoa, was another young chess player, McLean Handjaba who also made chess headlines as he came in second place this year after qualifying for the National team. * * * The South African Open has often been plundered by our friends from the north. Rodwell Makoto from Zimbabwe is the latest. He took last year’s SA Open in Newlands. Now we can expect a Zambian to be among the contestants in Port Elizabeth where the SA Open is combined with the Commonwealth Championship next month.. The Swedish embassy has sponsored Gillan Bwalya who hammerd our players in Botswans last month, with $3000 to make it possible for him to attend the 2013 World Chess Cup in Tromso, Norway. The Chess World Cup 2013 is a 128-player chess single-elimination tournament, which will be played between August 10 and September 5.. The Swedish ambassador, Lena Nordstrom., announced her country’s decision last Saturday. to have a Zambian chess player among the 128 best in the World. Ambassador Nordstrom said “ The Swedish Embassy is very happy to be able to help Gillian Bwalya to make his Dream come true.” Bwalya won the 2013 National Individual Chess championship ahead of high-rated International Master, Daniel Jere in Mansa. Bwalya, who had dropped to third place on Easter Sunday, won his round eight and nine games to tie on seven points with Jere at the end of the tournament held at the Henry Courtyard Lodge. However, Bwalya, who received K3,000 top prize, was declared winner as he had won more games than Jere, who got K1,500, and also had a lower ranking. * * * International Master Robert Gwaze, Zimbabwe’s leading player, took top honors two recent events. First he won the Africa Chess Lounge Central Library Rapid Open last week. Second came Shane Willenberg and […]

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Namibia has a new champ.

Namibia has a new champion Goodwill Khoa, 23.The nine-round long tournament was held at the Protea Thuringerhof Hotel in Windhoek over the Easter weekend. Khoa drew with last year’s champion Charles Eichab, a frequent visitor to South Africa, and also drew with the tournament favourite Otto Nakapunda in the final. Following Khoa, was another young chess player, McLean Handjaba who also made chess headlines as he came in second place this year after qualifying for the National team.

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Give our guys (and girls) a chance!

South Africa’s players did not fare too well at the continental championship in Botswana, in May. So what should we do to advance our talented, but under-performing players. In the old Soviet days the Russian Federation were effective but pretty ruthless in ensuring that stars from Botvinnik to Kasparov progressed from talented amateurs to world class champions. How did they do it? Established grandmasters had to earn their keep by taking a junior under their wings and become their coaches and mentors. The great Mikhail Tal had Koblents, Anatoli Karpov, Furman. Then step by step the rising players played head-to-head matches against opponents stronger than their current rating. This all takes money, but if Chess South Africa wants to advance the strength of such as Kenny Solomon that is where our budget should be directed, not at junkets for officials.

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My Part in Shaping SA Chess

I was recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in South African Chess. It is the kind of thing that leads to reminiscences for which a blog is the ideal vehicle. I won’t go back to my early years (it can be summed up as: Chess Fanatic from the age of 9) but two things that changed my life were: the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972. I covered the match for the Cape Times and through that became well known in Cape Town (and in the Independent Group of newspapers, as it turned out later). Being elected as president of the WP Chess Union in 1988. When I was booted out after publicly denouncing the apartheid structure of chess I also I had no idea that I was being watched by the ANC. Defying the apartheid regime In 1966 I had caused half of the False Bay Chess Club to resign when I accepted André van Reenen, designated coloured, as a member. In 1970 Van Reenen departed the WP Chess Union to form the Chess Association for the People of South Africa (CAPSA). South African chess was split down the middle.  The SA Chess Federation went along with the apartheid government while the SA Council on Sport whose motto was “No normal sport in an abnormal society’ excluded itself from all existing sporting bodies. Its members were not even supposed to watch sport on TV. CAPSA was affiliated to SACOS. The empire strikes back In July 1972, Eschel Rhoodie, was appointed to the post of Secretary of Information. Shortly after his appointment to what would later be called the ‘Dirty Tricks’ Department, Rhoodie created an organisation designed to counter South Africa’s sporting isolation. The result was the Committee for Fairness in Sport. On the counter side SACOS did all it could to exclude sport, including chess, from international competition. 1972 – 76 Donald Woods I first came into contact with Woods, a chess enthusiast, in 1975 when he accompanied Len Reitstein and Bill Bowers, president and vice-president of the SA Chess Federation, to the World Chess Team tournament. 1976 — the student uprising. South Africa went up in flames after the June 1976 youth uprising. The government responded by banning the entire Black Consciousness Movement along with many other political organisations, as well as issuing banning orders against various persons.   Under Woods, (he was editor from 1965 to 1977), the Daily Dispatch had been critical of the South African government, but was also initially critical of the emerging Black Consciousness Movement under the leadership of Steve Biko. A young black woman, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, berated Woods for writing misleading stories about the movement, challenging him to meet with Biko. The two men became friends, leading the Security Police to monitor Woods’s movements. Nevertheless, Woods continued to provide political support to Biko, both through writing editorials in his newspaper and controversially hiring black journalists to the Daily Dispatch.   I was then working as a sub-editor at the Cape Times (part […]

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