We conducted a quick interview with Kenny Solomon via Facebook chat. He was packing up and getting ready to return to South Africa and we took our chances with asking for an interview. A very big thank you to Kenny for making this interview possible. A must read!
Question (Bruce Mubayiwa): Morning King Solomon!!
Answer (Kenny Solomon): Good morning sir
Question: Congratulations Kenny on a big victory at the 2014 African Individual Chess Championship (2014) in Windhoek, Namibia. That was truly awesome
Answer: Thank you very much. It was tough event. I am happy.
Question: I don’t know how you did it going through an entire event like that without defeat. That was quite a strong field.
Answer: I just took it round by round trying to find good moves. In the last 3 rounds I was really struggling and made many mistakes.
Question: There has been quite a lot of debate on whether you are now a GM or not. Let’s get it from the horse’ mouth. Are you now a Grandmaster?
Answer: I checked the FIDE website about GM title rules, it’s not clear. Gold means first after tiebreak. I won after tiebreak. Is this clear? I will get the title later by rating, my personal goal. I’m happier about winning this special event although it wasn’t as strong as it should have been
Question: There is a great deal of excitement following your victory at the African Individual Chess Championship (AICC) in Windhoek Namibia. You have inspired many people!!
Answer: Thanks. I’m awake but still dreaming
Question: It would have been nice to have more Grandmasters in the tournament?
Answer: Yes indeed
Question: What was your overall impression of the tournament?
Answer: I think the tournament was well organized, I was happy with the conditions and friendly environment. I found chess players in this event tough! Underrated as well.
Question: Which was your toughest game and why?
Answer: There are 2 toughest games. Firstly against GM Adly Ahmed and the second one against International Master (IM) Farahat Ali both from Egypt
Against Adly it was a long and difficult game, it was a very intense struggle, I managed to reach a complicated struggle, eventually time trouble, then mistakes from both sides. It was a very emotional game,. I maintained my objectivity, he lost his and I won a game that should most probably have ended in a draw.
Against Farahat, psychologically it was difficult, he was the leader and my task was to beat him. Easier said than done, as he was dominating the even first 5 rounds.
Question: How does it feel to have won such a great event, prestigious one too?
Answer: It isn’t every day or year that one can win African chess championships, so it is special, a special feeling
Question: How handy was your experience in playing Grandmasters during the game with GM Adly?
Answer: Exposure to GMs definitely came in handy, I have gained a lot of experience and it definitely helped psychologically.
Question: At what point did you think you might win the tournament? Did that ever cross your mind?
Answer: My goal was to win this event before I came here, I thought it was realistic and in my preparation beforehand I thought I had the best chances, but I had a slow start and even spoiled some chances in early rounds
After beating Adly I knew for sure I had a chance
Question: Now that you have won the tournament what are your immediate plans? Is it rest for more chess to follow?
Answer: I will return home and rest for some days, as it has been a tough tournament then I will participate in Gibraltar in January. I will be traveling home today (Tuesday 23 December) from Windhoek to Johannesburg then to London then Venice
Question: Many people across Africa will be inspired by your victory, especially back home in South Africa. Any words you would like to share with your fans and other chess players?
Answer: I have countless people to thank and I am grateful and appreciate all there support! I would like to mention that I see chess as an education and a journey. In Namibia First place was achieved and it would not have been possible without people behind the scenes and who have paved the way for me. As a junior I was inspired by SAs top players and in my book they are Grandmasters in no particular order they are (Charles de Villiers, Watu Kobese, George Michelakis, Gluckman brothers, Mark Rubery, Deon Solomons, Gordon Meyer, HenkStorm, Kondrod Van Zyl Smith, Levitt ,Maxwell Solomon, Graham my brother was very talented as well, Bravetti, Gordon Larence ,Bouah, Kromhout). I know that these players could very well have become Grandmasters under different circumstances and most of these players very very talented.
There are promising players today as well, Henry Steel, Cawdery, Mabusela, Van der nat, Claasen, Donovan van Den Heever etc. I am also grateful to my Sponsor SABT
And most of all My Mother and closest relatives, that supports me the most,my wife and Daughter are my biggest fans!
Chess is a journey educational, a struggle and grateful to all the chess fans.
Bruce Mubayiwa: Wow that’s really inspirational Kenny. Thank you so much for your time and really making the effort for the interview. All the very best going forward.
Kenny Solomon: Thank you!