Promoting Chess At All Levels In the Western Cape
“Chess players in South Africa are satisfied to be the best in their pool instead of aiming to do well internationally. The level of the sport is therefore not of a high standard. But together, partners can make a difference.” This was the view expressed by the English chess Grandmaster Nigel Short at a public lecture held at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Thursday, 7 February 2013.
The lecture was part of Grandmaster Short’s visit to Johannesburg and Cape Town to promote the game and to share his experience with emerging players, coaches and administrators. His appearance at UWC was a joint effort between the University, Chess South Africa and Chess Western Province, supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. Short is considered to be one of the greatest chess players England has ever produced.
The lecture focused on the endgame to assist chess enthusiasts to be more confident when playing this part of the game. Mr Short emphasised the importance of strategy in chess openings. While positional planning is good, it is also important for players to improve their tactics in order to raise their game and maintain momentum. He encouraged players who study the game to make use of technology. “You will make steady progress and improve if you use chess programmes, a database and analysis engines. We should enjoy chess and strive to become better and better”, he told the audience.
The audience asked questions during the presentation, and referred to the Grandmaster’s methods and variations in some matches of his professional career.
Chess Western Province praised Mr Short for making a difference and contributing to the chess revolution in the province. Youth Director Dr Dean Solomons said everyone who attended the lecture learned some valuable lessons. He was pleased to see the large number of people in attendance, and how keen partners are to develop the sport in communities, at school, and at university level. Hopefully, this lecture will help to produce the next Kenny Solomon, a Grandmaster-elect from Mitchells Plain, in the next few years.