Junior Nationals Update.

Hello to everyone reading the blog.

As the year comes hurtling to a close we as usual have the premium South African chess events looming. This year the South African Junior Chess Championships will be held in Durban with the venue being the ICC. There are a lot of changes as CHESSA looks to align with the international best practice. We have had this system for as long as I can remember and that’s 20 years!. We have been needing a change.

This is an update of the state and format for the Junior nationals. Many people are uninformed of the state of play and I hope to give clarity and help with debate. Please note that these rules might still change but I will keep the blog updated.

At this stage the team event will be a 9 rounds Swiss run using the same rules as the Olympiad. All age group teams will play in the same section, giving a chance to every team to compete for fair placing. The 9 rounds is maybe too little but its a big adjustment from where we are coming from.

It will bring us inline with international standards as the Senior and Youth Olympiad are run this way, as well as the world club championship’s. The advantage of this system means that teams don’t need to gain promotion to be able to compete for the top spots. In the past regions have had teams capable of winning a medal but unfortunately they were not in the Championship section.

The time control will be 90 minutes a side for the whole game and NO ADD on time. The proposed schedule will be 3 rounds on the 15th, 3 rounds on the 16th, 2 rounds on the 17th and 1 on the 18th. It seems like a lot but we want teams to get the chance to prove how good they are and if we don’t have enough rounds in a Swiss the placings will not be fair.

They still need to decide the sections for the prizes but the Olympiad has many category prizes, so I expect them to follow the same route. Their will be 2 kinds of board prizes one for total percentage score and the second for highest performance rating. This again is the international standard.

I will keep updating as things change. Please post your comments and questions and I can help with the information.




Who says GMs are so tough

Its seems no one told Rodwell Makoto that playing a Grandmaster is tough.

Rodwell has recorded his second straight draw to a GM in round 9 of the SA open. This time to number one seed Ahmed Adly. Adly out ranks Rodwell by more than 400 points but as Rodwell showed ratings don’t help you move pieces!

A wonderful result for Rodwell who remains undefeated for the event. Rodwell pushed in the beginning of the game and secured a slight edge Adly battled back but with little material on the board could do nothing to put his opponent under pressure, a draw a fair result in the end.

I”m delighted for Rodwell’s sake as he is a serious student of chess and has been working hard to improve his game for the last few years. Its funny how chess works as Rodwell has been spending more time recently on academic studies and now he is busy recording the best result of his career. Chess is a very funny sport!

Ill give a more in depth coverage of the other game’s in a later post.

Things are heating up. Round 6 from the SA Open

So now we move into the decisive phase of the tournament, with the next 4 rounds deciding the event. With GM Fenandes emerging as the favourite itll be interesting to see how the round progresses.

A very disappointing result for Cawdery I would have thought he would have kept playing a little trying to break with f5 to weaken blacks King. Daniel just seems to be struggling to get going in this event and is unable to force his type of positions with white.

A strange game from Mabusela, he seems to be low on confidence. Black was always struggling to prove he had enough compensation for the pawn, as White’s position became easier he let the draw slip.



After some wonderful results for young Craig Bornheim Musa Simutowe shows the rest of the field how to take care of him. Craig is still a very incomplete chess player. Here he shows poor strategy by attacking on the King flank, when there were still under developed pieces on the Queen side. Craig will be very difficult for players to handle in this event this was not his best game.

Now for some comic relief. Well for those who weren’t involved in this game. just to give you some background both players had less than 20 minutes left for their last 25 moves.


What is quite appalling is that black would just win by pushing his h-pawn.

A great example of why one should always play to the bitter end.

Now we have the clash on board one

White: GM Fernandes who has a clear preference for calm clear strategic positions and handles technical positions very well.

Black: Donovan van den Heever who has very powerful calculation skills and handles concrete positions well.

A super technical win by GM Fenandes. He controlled the type of game from the outset. Move 7.Qb6 is actually a very strong move for his  desired game. He takes off the queens and forces black to play a technical position. He then slowly outplays black in a position were Donovan’s skills are useless. A very well played game again GM Fernandes.

Now we get to the most entertaining game of the round.

White Calvin Klaasen. Calvin has the potential to be one of the countries best players but needs to be more serious about his chess studies.

Black IM Kobese. Watu is one of the countries best players and is continually among the favorites to succeed in any SA event.

What a crazy game! Calvin just didn’t have enough time to secure the win. He was down to seconds for the 5 moves before the time control. Had he found 36.Qf3 or Kg2 then this would have been a memorable win for him.

So as we move into round 7 GM Fernandes leads the way and he will face  IM Watu Kobese who leads the charge of the SA Players.














The day the seeds fell round 5 continued

So lets get to the games.

Round 5 turned out to be a blood bath for the higher seeded players. The first stunning result was Top seeded Ahmed Adly’s loss to Craig Bohrnheim. Craig has done wonderfully well in the sharp positions requiring calculation. First holding a draw to 7th seed Daniel Cawdery and now this Win against the former world u20 champion.

So this is the deciding moment in their game. The opening already went very wrong for Ardly in a Cambridge springs defence and now Craig Simply wins the exchange with Bc7. Easy as can be Craig went on to win very nicely.

Lets look at Cawdery’s win against the the Zimbabwian Amini

Daniel is very good in sharp positions and Amini made a mistake playing such a double edged line.

Next of the seeds to fall is South Africa’s top entry to the tournament IM Watu Kobese.

Watu has a very strong active strategic style. Here Bhawodien demonstrated his ability to create active counter chance to compensate for his weak b-pawn.

Next on the list of seeds to drop points was IM Johannes Mabusela.

Who ever said having a title doesn’t get you free points? Here Johannes simple blundered a piece trying to be too fancy on move 14. and ended up getting a draw because of his reputation. I’m sure Mabu will be better later in the event.

A word of advice for lower rated players. When your opponent offers you a draw ask yourself: “what are the chances of me losing from this position” If I play normally. In the position above the odds of White losing are very low.


Just in case you were left wondering whats the point of ratings, here is a game of Donovan van Den Heever showing his superiority.

Here Craig made a common mistake instead of defending the problems on the Q side and waiting passively. He tried to create active counter-play on the queenside.

Hindsight is an exact science!

Its never easy to pick how to handle that type of position but well played by Donnie.

Last but not least we have the Game of the round

This is a GM showing he’s a GM! When going through the game one might think that there’s nothing special here but by move 15 Fernandes was down to less than 30 minutes to his opponents hour. Plus black is just worse with white having all the play. he then proceeds to secure his position and then finally seize the initiative with 25…Ne6.

This game is a great example of quality play under pressure. Its really not easy when your clock is ticking down you cant find any good ideas and you just look at your opponent who has double your time and so many good things to do.

Well played to GM Fernandes.






The Day the Seeds fell


So now we are at round 5 of the 2012 SA Open

What a round, what a round. Before we start our report on the matches lets give some things to wake your brain

Tsalicoglou, JSimutowe, M

So here on move 33. white has just played Rc3 trying to continue the struggle. What did black end his resistance with.

        Amini- Cawdery

Here White has just played Bxe8 trying to restore some material balance. What did he miss?


Here GM Ardley has just saved his Bishop with Bxe4. What could he not save?