The SA Open is under way at UWC.
SA’s top rated player, Daniel Cawdery, heads a field of 500 entered in three sections.
First held in 1962, the SA Open was held every two years until 1995, after which it has been held annually. It was not held in 1992 due to the unification of the various sports bodies after apartheid.
The international challenge is led by Serbian GM Alexa Strikova, and Rodwell Makoto, a Zimbabwean International Master who won the South African Open in 2012.
Donovan van den Heever (born 1981) is playing. He became an International Master in 2014, and won the South African Closed Championship in the same year and has represented South Africa at the Chess Olympiad.
The most successful winner of the Open is Kenny Solomon who is not entered as he is not in the country. He won the South African Championship in 2003 and the South African Open three times, in 1999, 2005 and 2007, and was also the top ranked South African in 2003.
He became an International Master in 2004. During the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul Solomon earned his final GM norm.
Although Solomon has never reached the required rating of 2500, he earned the Grandmaster title by winning the African Continental Championship in December 2014, thereby becoming the first chess grandmaster from South Africa and a second from sub-Saharan Africa after Amon Simutowe.
Watu Kobese, 43, is playing. He has won the South African Closed Championship three times, in 1998, 2003 and 2011, and the South African Open twice, in 2004 and 2008.
Kobese was awarded by Fidé the title of International Master in 1995. He played for South Africa in the Chess Olympiads of 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Our top junior, Daniel Barrish, 15, is overseas, playing in tournaments in the Czech Republic.
In the Fidé Open in eské Bud jovice Barrish distinguished himself by beating a Russian Grandmaster, Evgeny Gleizerov, rated 2506.
In 2001 Gleizerov tied for 1st-3rd with Stanislav Voitsekhovsky and Michal Krasenkow at Barlinek.
He tied for 3rd-6th with David Berczes, Yuriy Kuzubov and Pia Cramling in the Rilton Cup 2008/2009.
He came first at Parla 2009. In 2010 he tied for 1st-6th with Kamil Mito , Bojan Kurajica, Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, Lázaro Bruzón and Bartłomiej Heberla in the 4th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciu- dad de La Laguna. In 2011 he tied for 1st-4th with Gadir Guseinov, Merab Gagunashvili and Sergei Tiviakov in the 19th Fajr Open Chess Tournament, and won the International Championship of Slovakia in Banská
Barrish also held Ukrainian IM Polyakov Maxim, 2414, to a draw.