Young Chess Players Compete for Championship Honours
More than 1 800 players from across the country participated in the annual South African Junior Chess Championships for the honour of representing South Africa at the 2013 world championship. This tournament, the country’s largest, took place at the University of Cape Town’s Sport Centre from 15 to 20 December 2012.
The event was hosted by the City of Cape Town’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department and Chess Western Province, with support from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS). There were morning and evening sessions in the age groups u8, u10, u12, u14, u16, u18 and u20. Groups could field players of 6, 8 and 10 players in the championship, B and C sections respectively. An individual wildcard contest also took place.
DCAS Chief Director of Sport and Recreation Adv. Lyndon Bouah, who happens to be a former professional chess player, said this year’s championship has attracted the most players to date. “Our Department is proud to be associated with this event. It’s wonderful to see, for the first time, boys and girls playing together in mixed teams. For a young player, participating in major events like this is what is needed to become a champion one day.”
Tiffany Agulhas, who was competing for the first time in the championship, felt honoured to play against some of the best chess players in the country. She represented the South African Ladies’ Invitational team and described the championships as “tough”. “It was really fantastic to have played with thousands of other players around me and to experience the buzz. The exposure and excitement of such an event was an amazing experience.”
Ms Ilse Joubert of Chess Western Cape said the aim of the championship was to highlight chess in South Africa in all its diversity and to promote the development of the sport in Cape Town. “The championship showed that chess development is alive and well at grassroots level across the country”, she said.