CHESS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFUN -

KIR­SAN Ilyumzhi­nov, pres­i­dent of the World Chess Fed­er­a­tion (Fidé), opened the SA Ju­nior Chess Cham­pi­onships at the Nel­son Man­dela Met­ro­pol­i­tan Univer­sity South Cam­pus in Port El­iz­a­beth on Tues­day. He was wel­comed by Chess South Africa (Chessa) pres­i­dent Emelia El­lapen, whom he praised for her ef­forts to raise the level of chess on the con­ti­nent.

But, it was the eldest of the three Pol­gar sis­ters, Su­san, who was the main at­trac­tion out­side the ac­tual play­ing of games. Not as strong as Ju­dit, her youngest sib­ling, Su­san still has umpteen achieve­ments to her credit, in­clud­ing be­ing a former women’s world cham­pion. Her pro­mo­tion of women in chess has brought her fame, and this is why she was in SA: to hold a three-day sem­i­nar on women in chess.

Over 1 800 chil­dren are play­ing in an in­ter-provin­cial team tour­na­ment fol­lowed by an in­di­vid­ual cham­pi­onship. Western Prov­ince is not shin­ing in spite of sev­eral top play­ers at adult level. Mo­hamed Bha­woo­d­ien was scor­ing heav­ily, but had lit­tle sup­port in the U-20 team. Daniel Bar­rish, 11, was al­lowed to com­pete in the U-18s, and it is the youngest who are the hope of the fu­ture.

Due to er­ratic plan­ning, the African Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships are tak­ing place at the Baobab Col­lege in Lusaka at the same time as our SA Ju­nior. Cape Town’s Tif­fany Dar­ling, 11, is al­most cer­tain to gain a con­ti­nen­tal ti­tle. Ac­cord­ing to Fidé rules, an en­try fee of 70 (R765) is re­quired for each in­vited player and 140 for each additional player. Fed­er­a­tions are re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the en­try fees for each of their play­ers, so WIM Anzel Solomons’ com­plaint as to Chessa’s lack of fund­ing has been heard.

Port El­iz­a­beth saw a new Chess SA ex­ec­u­tive elected. The only mem­ber of the out­go­ing ex­ec­u­tive to re­tain her place was El­lap­pen (Western Prov­ince), pres­i­dent; her vice-pres­i­dent is Mar­ius van Zyl (East­ern Prov­ince). The other mem­bers are Hen­drik du Toit (MidGaut­eng), ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor; Brid­gette Burger ( Western Prov­ince Cen­tral), gen­eral sec­re­tary; Ewan Ober­holzer (North­west Prov­ince), di­rec­tor of fi­nance; Gun­ther van den Bergh (Western Prov­ince Cen­tral), di­rec­tor of rat­ings; Michael Burke (Gaut­eng Cen­tral), di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment; Geral­dine En­gel­man (Gaut­eng South), di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions.

Although it was al­most cer­tain that Vladimir Kram­nik would win the ti­tle at the Lon­don Chess Clas­sic, as he needed only to draw with Levon Aro­nian, which he did, it was ex­pected that the world num­ber one, Mag­nus Carlsen, would over­come Nigel Short and take sec­ond. As Chess­base re­ported: “Life had its own plans, as did Hikaru Naka­mura, since Carlsen could not break the English­man, while the Amer­i­can shocked Michael Adams with a King’s Gam­bit, and won in a volatile po­si­tion to take clear sec­ond.”

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