First chess contest in Obs

2017-11-14 06:00
From left are competitors Nkosinathi Hlophe, Shaun Willenberg and Migael van Schaik during the chess competition in Observatory. PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

From left are competitors Nkosinathi Hlophe, Shaun Willenberg and Migael van Schaik during the chess competition in Observatory. PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

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The Obs Chess Club has hosted the provincial championships for the first time in history.

This year’s Western Province closed championships was held at the Observatory community recreational centre from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 November.

The competition attracted hundreds of participants in four categories, including children as young as six years. Medals and monetary rewards were won.

The local club’s management says they are pleased to host such a prestigious competition and are happy with its success.

The club’s Tauriq Jenkins says: “It is the first time ever for this to be held in Observatory. It is WP Chess’s most prestigious event, attracting top players. The Obs Chess Club has made history this year by entering a team into the league since 1907. It is one of the oldest chess clubs in South Africa. It has gone through resurgence this year.”

He says when he came back from overseas he was saddened to see the history of Observatory unacknowledged.

He thought of doing something that would unite people from all corners of the community and he found that chess could play a positive role in putting the area on the map again.

He says within a year since they restarted the club, it has already shown potential and attracted the interest of many people.

He says he is grateful to everyone who supported them from the beginning until the championships. Jenkins says they hope to see membership grow and he encourages people to join. Membership is free, and training is offered for beginners.

Deon Solomon, president of WP Chess, says hosting the championships in Observatory aimed to revive history and inspire community members to recognise and support the game.

Mentioning the winners, he also says: “Regional arbiters Ilse Joubert and Cosmas Mairosi earned provincial arbiter norms.”

One of the competition winners, Jan Karsten, who competed in the u.10 category, says he is happy to win his first tournament and is motivated to want to perform at higher ­levels.

Jan says his secret was playing slowly and with concentration. He says chess needs the player to be calm and thoughtful, because if you play fast you can make unnecessary ­mistakes.

A competitor from Swaziland, Nkosinathi Hlophe, says he could not miss the championships because they would expose him to new techniques, affording him a platform to showcase his skills and interact with people with the same interests.


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