Reflections on the 2024 SA Closed Final from Dr CM Lyndon Bouah

Here is a very detailed account of the SA Closed Final reproduced in its entirety with kind permission from Dr CM Lyndon Bouah

It has now been just over a week since the SA Closed Chess Championship Congress ended at Newlands Cricket Ground. Between 25 March 2024 and 2 April 2024. I travelled every day between Cape Town central (my office) and the Northern suburbs of Cape Town (my home) to Newlands as it is known. I would from town traverse the M3 and then meander down towards Newlands rugby stadium and then enter the cricket ground from there. When I travelled from home, I would use the N1 and then get onto the M5 and then Campground Road.

Once I got to Newlands, I then proceeded to Gate Ten where the security would then open for all the cars. There is a huge pole as soon as you come into the gate and it had a chequered poster on it, which I thought was nice and ironic since we are playing chess here at the cricket venue.

Once I found a parking, I would then proceed to the Presidents Pavilion Suite, fifth floor. 

We would then be playing in that corner suite. The room hosted three sections. The Open section, the Women section and the Senior section. Depending on if you were playing black or white, you would see Table Mountain. 

Some of you may be asking why Newlands Cricket ground. We actually have a history with Newlands. We have staged the 2005, 2009, 2022 and now the 2024 SA Closed there. In 2005 I approached the CEO of WP Cricket, Professor Andre Odendaal if we could host the SA Closed in the venue. He generously without any cost made the media room available to us. At that stage there were only two sections and the media room was ample. Nick Van der Nat won that first SA Closed held there and the women section was won by WIM Denise Bouah (nee Frick). History was also made when WIM Cecile Van Der Merwe played in the Open Section of the SA Closed. This was the first and only time a female player had played in the Open section of the SA Closed. 

The first four rounds were difficult for me as I still had to contend with my financial year end at the office. I hold a senior position in government, and we need to ensure financial accountability and that our targets are met. So those last days were hectic. Getting to office at 6h30am to ensure I could leave at 15h00pm as the rounds kicked off at 16h00. Traffic out of Cape Town can be a killer!

When I arrived at the playing venue that first evening, I had to play Justin Wilken. Justin is from the Eastern Cape and I knew him from back in the days when we still had black hair and hair in fact! We drew in the SA Open 2022 and I know that as he is a professional coach, that he will play hard. Once the game got underway, I was able to breathe and take in the surroundings. We drew after a few hours of play.

Justin Wilken

 2. Open Section

In the Open Section, I saw some players that I did not know really. The Open section was also a very young section. I saw Caleb Levitan who at the age of 13 is probably the youngest player to ever compete in the Open section of the SA Closed Chess Championship. A few of the older players were speculating about this. Former SA Closed Champion David Friedgood informed me that he was 14 when he played his first SA Closed. Donald Macfarlane may have been 15 when he played his first SA Closed.  He won the SA Closed in 1983 at the age of 17. Henry Steel as he was then known also won the SA Closed at the age of 17. Gordon Meyer wrote that he thinks Steve Hirschowitz may have been 12 or 13 when he played in the 1981 SA Closed. So, the jury is out. I shall have to consult with some of the older folks to get to the youngest player ever!

FM Caleb Levitan

Meanwhile in the Women’s section Imkhita Joya turned 13 in March and was the youngest player in the Women’s  Section. 

In the final analysis the crosstable was as follows: 

Open Section

  • FM Daniel Barrish was the winner of the section. Daniel was also a child prodigy and he was playing in the WP league Premier section from about 10 years of age! I know because he and I played two league games against each other. Daniel drew attention to himself when he drew with former World Champion Gary Kasparov in a simultaneous display in Mew Way, Khayalitsha in March 2012. 

    Daniel was born in Tabor, Czech Republic but has lived and was raised his entire life in Cape Town and attended SACS. He started playing chess around 4-5 and his first tournaments were in 2007. 

    Daniel finished his undergraduate studies in computer science in 2021, followed by honours in 2022, and he is now currently in the second year of his PHD at Stellenbosch University focussed on machine learning/ AI.  

    Daniel finished his undergraduate studies in computer science in 2021, followed by honours in 2022, and he is now currently in the second year of his PHD at Stellenbosch University focussed on machine learning/ AI.  

    This is now the second time that Daniel Barrish has won the SA Closed. He won the first time in 2019. He is also the first SA Closed champion born in this millennium! Daniel had 5 wins and 6 draws. He was undefeated in the event!
  • FM Caleb Levitan was completely unknown to me. He has impressed me as a serious player of the game! I enjoyed the chats with Shaun his father and also with Caleb. We chatted about a few historical matters. He is a very pleasant young man.

    Caleb was born in Johannesburg on 15 October 2010. He is currently in Grade 8 at King David Linksfield in Johannesburg. He has a twin brother called Judah. Both started playing when they were 6 years old. Their first coach was Clyde Wolpe.

In 2018 Caleb won the Under 8 SA Junior Closed Chess Championship. He thereafter followed it up by winning the U-8 African Youth Chess Championship in Kisumu, Kenya earning him the provisional Candidate Master title in 2022 when his FIDE Elo crossed 2000.

He broke the record for the highest score by a South African at the World Cadets in Santiago de Compostela, Spain with a score of 7.5 in the Under 8 category in 2018. 

In 2019 Caleb won the SA Under 10 championships.

In 2020 Caleb made it to the final 16 of the Fide online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championship in the Under-10 Category. He lost to Ryo Chen from the USA. 

In 2022 Caleb won the Under -16 SA Junior Closed Chess Championship at 11 years of age. That year he finished second in the U-16 Section of the African Youth Championship held in Lusaka, Zambia.  He earned the provisional FIDE Master Title by placing tie first on points. The FIDE Master title was awarded in 2023 when his rating crossed 2100.

Caleb finished 4th at the FIDE World School Chess Championship U-13 category in Panama in 2022.

In 2023 Caleb received the Amayanga –Yanga Athlete of the Year award from Gauteng Sports. This award is in recognition given to young athletes who have demonstrated exceptional performance in their respective sports and shown great potential for the future.

In 2024 Caleb was selected with Banele Mhango to represent South Africa at the 13th All African Games in Ghana.    

FM Levitan scored 7 with 4 wins, 6 draws and one loss. 

  • IM Jan Karsten has been having a great 2023 and 2024. In 2022 he became the 2022 African Junior Champion.  He played in the Moja Chess extravaganza in October 2023. This event was a great warm up for him as he subsequently scored 8/11 points at the World Youth Under -16 where he ended eighth in the world in Italy in November 2023. He also won the Cape Town Masters in January 2024. Jan is 16 and attends school at Jan Van Riebeeck High School in cape Town.

He ended in 3rd position with 6.5/11. He won 4 games and drew 5.

  • Charlton Mnyasta from Elsies River, Cape Town is now in matric in 2024. He scored 4 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses. Charlton has impressed us all in Cape Town with his mature play. he has been playing for Elsies River his whole life and he has assisted them in winning the Western Cape Club Championship in 2021 and also ended in third position in the WP league. He has also been winning individual events. 

The former Chairperson of the University of the Western Cape Chess Club, Shaheed Tobias, recently completed his Masters in Anthropology. The recent South African Closed Chess Championship in Cape Town has not only showcased remarkable talent on the board but has also illuminated the vibrant social dynamics that underpin the chess community. Delving into the depths of Shaheed Tobias’ thesis which focuses on the social dimensions of chess, he finds a rich tapestry of connections, collaborations, and personal growth that extend far beyond the confines of the game itself. He analysed what chess has meant to young men from the Cape Flats like Charlton.  I have asked him for his views about the SA Closed in relation to his thesis. He stated the following.

Thesis extract:

“Chess stands out among other sports, primarily because its focus lies heavily on mental acuity and strategic planning rather than physical prowess. This characteristic enables a broader range of participants, transcending cultural, age, and physical limitations. Success in chess does not necessitate specific physical capabilities, making the game inclusive for differently abled individuals, as well as people of various age groups. The sport encompasses both individual and team-based gameplay, further emphasizing its unique position within the world of sports.

To gain a deeper understand of the nuances of the sport and the chess community who play it, I explore the world of the players by participating in and observing chess players in action at various chess tournaments and chess events in an around Cape Town.

As noted in the introduction, there is also a scarcity of scholarly literature and local media coverage on chess culture in South Africa. Recently, Dr. Lyndon Bouah, a central participant in this study and the captain of Steinitz Chess Club, has made a significant contribution by publishing six books that shed light on chess in South Africa. These books provide insights into his experiences as a chess player growing up in the country, as well as the stories of other top South African players who are seldom discussed outside of casual conversations. Dr. Bouah’s work offers a valuable resource for understanding the unique aspects of chess culture in the South African context…….

A crucial part of addressing this issue of a lack of representation of South African chess culture in the literature is to speak to and write about those who are enmeshed within the fabric of this culture as can be seen in the reflections of Dr Lyndon Bouah. By exploring the narratives of individuals who actively partake in this world, one can really get to know the culture of the people and the sport and how it functions from the individual to the community. It is also important that in this process there is a co-creation of knowledge with the participants as to maintain as much of the authenticity of the chess community as possible steering away from being written about from the outside. In this way the stories and experiences of those within the chess community can be more accurately represented through their own terms.”

Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity:

Chess serves as a nexus where individuals from diverse backgrounds converge, transcending barriers of age, gender, and socio-economic status. The thesis explores this landscape through the eyes of Steinitz Chess Club members, who hail mostly from the Cape Flats, including players such as Roland Willenberg, Shaun Willenberg, Lyndon Bouah, Andrew Talmarkes, and Mark Lewis. Their stories, woven into the fabric of the club’s journey, provide a compelling narrative of perseverance and success. As stated in the thesis, “The chess community serves as a core space for players to connect, develop friendships, and expand their social networks. It is a diverse and inclusive environment that welcomes individuals from different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds.”

Transformative Power of Chess:

At the core of the chess community, particularly in Cape Town, lies a commitment to personal and community transformation. Parents play a crucial role in nurturing their children’s passion for the game, evolving beyond mere spectators to become coaches, mentors, and advocates. Moreover, parents play a critical role in the nurturing of children that are not theirs – something that is massively underplayed within the community. The success of long-time players like Dr. Shabier Bhawoodien, Mark Lewis, and Dr. Lyndon Bouah, who have dedicated over 40 years to chess respectively, underscores the transformative power of the game in their lives. Their qualification for the Chess Olympiad in Krakow, Poland, further emphasizes the vital support provided by the chess community.

Similarly, the success stories of emerging players like 13-year-old Caleb Levitan, 16-year-old International Master Jan Karstens, 17-year-old Chloe Badenhorst, 18-year-old Hayley Nel, and 18-year-old Charlton Mnyasta further underscore the transformative impact of chess within the community. Their achievements not only highlight the potential for personal growth and development but also emphasize the crucial role of mentorship and support from the chess community in nurturing young talent. While long-time players like Shabier Bhawoodien, Mark Lewis, and Lyndon Bouah have showcased the enduring benefits of dedication to the game over decades, the success of youth players reflects the opportunities for positive change that chess offers individuals and communities alike, regardless of age or background.

Chess as a catalyst for social change:

In the heart of the Cape Flats, where sports like soccer, cricket, and rugby reign supreme, chess quietly emerges as a catalyst for change. Just as soccer legend Benny McCarthy found solace and opportunity through sports, chess offers a similar refuge and pathway for personal development. In communities like Mitchell’s Plain, Belhar, Elsies River, and Bishop Lavis, amongst others, where opportunities can be scarce, chess stands out for its unique contribution to social cohesion and individual empowerment. Here, emerging talents like Charlton Mnyasta can thrive. The Cape Flats has already produced a blueprint in Grandmaster Kenny Solomon, providing inspiration for someone like Charlton. Kenny’s journey, reflected on in the thesis, resonates deeply with Charlton’s own path. Both started their chess journeys in the Cape Flats, facing similar challenges and aspirations. Kenny’s rise to become a Grandmaster, including his first appearance at the 1998 Chess Olympiad during matric, serves as a beacon of hope for Charlton and others like him. It suggests the possible emergence of another Grandmaster from the Cape Flats, highlighting the untapped potential for greatness within the community.

Of course, the Cape Flats is but one example of where we have seen success. South African chess now offers more to this generation. With new opportunities like online chess, access to better tournaments, the ability to create chess content, and the ever-growing chess coaching community, there is much more opportunity now than ever to see South Africa’s next Grandmaster. If anything, we should support our champions and ambassadors of chess on the international stage who make us proud – IM Daniel Barrish, WIM Jesse February, WIM Charlize Van Zyl, and FM Banele Mhango have all been doing great things and benefiting from this great community. Let’s support our young stars!

5. FM Banele Mhango 

Banele was the second placed SA Closed player on tiebreak in 2022. He has certainly shown himself as a confident player. He beat Caleb, Jan and Charlton. This was an impressive feat on its own. He just needed to tidy up at the tail and he would have been in the running for the top two places. 

He recently medalled at the 2023 All African Games in Ghana. He is certainly a player for the future as well. 

FM Daniel Barrish, FM Caleb Levitan, IM Jan Karsten, Charlton Mnyasta

 Overall remarks about the Open Section

 Many players texted me to ask me if this was a changing of the guard.  I responded that one swallow does not a summer make! Yes, this has certainly been a turn up for the books, but I will certainly not write off IM Daniel Cawdrey who lost out because of the direct encounter loss against Mnyasta. He is still the SA Open champion and will fight hard in Durban in July 2024.

IM Watu Kobese, who has played over 100 games for SA at the Olympiad will be back. The fact that there was no prize money certainly did not assist him. Watu is a chess professional, and the Chessa leadership must address the prize money aspect in this and future events. FM Calvin Klaasen also fought hard and will want to increase his Olympiad appearances. In his last Olympiad appearance, he beat two grandmasters. GM Kenny Solomon will also not be at the Olympiad as he did not play. The Selection Policy will have to be reviewed because GM Kenny cannot be expected to pay his own costs to fly from Italy and then play for no prize money. 

In terms of the Olympiad this will be the first time in many a year when three debutants will be playing.  In 1992 when SA was allowed back into international chess, there were debutants, Deon Solomons, David Gluckman, Lyndon Bouah and Maxwell Solomon. Charles De Villiers had played previously in 1974. In 1994 Watu Kobese joined the above players as well with David not playing. In recent years there has really only been one or two debutants so this team will be a brand-new look and feel.  I wish the team well in their preparation for Budapest, Hungary where they will represent South Africa.

Woman Section

  1. WIM Jesse February hails from Gqerbha (formerly Port Elizabeth) followed up her victory at the African Championship in Ghana and secured victory with 10.5/11. Jesse played well and she only appeared to be in trouble against Davida Strong who had trapped her bishop on g3. However, Jesse won the game. Jesse is playing solidly, and I am sure the WGM title will be awarded soon! Jesse had 10 victories. This is Jesse’s SA Closed third title (2017, 2019 and now 2024). She is thus the deserving SA Closed and African Champion.

Jesse has relocated to Cape Town and is getting back into coaching working with chess academies and schools. She did some work earlier this year with Supersport schools and will continue as a broadcaster and commentator. Jesse streams on twitch/YouTube, does voice overs, editing and filming for the chess world. She has also qualified for the next FIDE Women’s World Cup  

  • WIM Charlize van Zyl hails from Gqerbha (formerly Port Elizabeth) scored 9/11. She played excellent chess and then needed to catch a flight to Canada to do work at the Candidates. Charlize had 8 victories, and 2 draws.

Charlize first played for South Africa at the 2018 Olympiad in Georgia. She was the runner-up at the African Individuals in 2023.

  • WFM Chloe Badenhorst was the defending champion and played a good brand of chess. She had 7 victories.   

Chloe was born Jan 2007 in Olivedale, Johannesburg. Chloe has been homeschooled since grade 6. Started playing chess at school at the age of 11. Chloe has won the African Youth title in her age category twice (U12 Girls in 2019, and 14 Girls in 2021). She has also represented her country at the World Cadets, World Youth, World u16 Olympiad, World Juniors, as well as the Chess Olympiad. Chloe has competed in two SA women closed: Winning the title as a 15-year old in 2022, and ending third in 2024.

  • Robyn Klaasen first made the Olympiad team in her matric year in 2014. She is a grade 1 teacher. She has a Honours Degree in Political Science (University of Stellenbosch) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for Foundation Phase. She also tells me that she enjoys watching Turkish telenovelas! Robyn had a measured event with her scoring 4 victories and 5 draws and securing fourth spot.
  • Hayley Nel scored 5 victories and 2 draws. Hayley started playing chess through her school at the age of ten. She is now 17 and is matric at Ashton College in Benoni, Gauteng. She won the Moja ladies Section in 2022 and the U-18 Girls section at the SA Junior Closed in 2023. 

Concluding remarks 

The top three players dominated the event. There were many debutants in this section which augurs well for the SA Chess scene.

 Hayley Nel, Robyn Klaasen, WIM Jesse February, WFM Chloe Badenhorst

Senior Section

This was the section I played in. I made my debut in this section. 

  1. Dr Bhawoodien and I (Lyndon Bouah) had an interesting event with both of us winning 6 games and drawing five against the same opponents! We drew with each other as well and could not be separated. Dr Bhawoodien won his first closed in 1986 in Durban with 9/9. Lyndon ended second in his first SA Closed Championships in 1989 and 1991. Lyndon represented twice at the Olympiads in 1992 and 1994. So, after a thirty-year absence Lyndon will again play in an Olympiad (albeit the Senior one!)
  • Justin Wilken after initially starting slowly picked up speed with a 4-game winning streak to end in 3rd position.
  • Allister Metcalfe played a measured event and even when he seemed in trouble he was not flustered and played strong defensive moves.
  • The defending champion Mark Lewis started with a loss and then had to nurse his way into fifth. Mark won the inaugural event in 2017 and again in 2022.

Overall remarks.

 The top two players dominated the field, but the games were tight. The scoreboard may reflect victories, but they were all hard fought. Some players like Andre Schutte and Cyril Danisa played hard but the points did not arrive.

Chessa announced the over fifty team as the team above and an over 65 team consisting of Dr Andrew Southey, Allister Metcalfe, Stephen Gallied and two players from outside the Closed who will be identified later this month.

The Senior Team qualifies to go to Krakow, Poland from 1 to 12 July 2024.

PM Mark Lewis, CM Lyndon Bouah, FM Shabir Bhawoodien, Justin Wilken, Allister Metcalfe

Closing Ceremony 

At the Closing ceremony, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, Minister Anroux Marais graced the event and made a speech. I give an extract from the speech.

Minister Anroux Marais

Good afternoon Chessplayers and parents. I hereby acknowledge Mr Andre Lewaks from Chessa and members of his exco, the President of the Western Cape Chess Body Mr Aldo Pekeur, the President of Chess Cape Town, Mr Burton Van Staaden and his exco, the Chief Arbiter Mr Ricardo Minnaar and his team.

I also see some faces known to me. I acknowledge the African Women’s Chess Champion Women International Master Jesse February.  I also wish to single out International Master Watu Kobese. In 2015 my Department of

Cultural Affairs and Sport (Western Cape) partnered with Watu to translate the laws of chess into Isi-Xhosa. At our

Western Cape Cultural Awards, the next year, he received an award for outstanding contribution to language. Watu, I am pleased to inform you that since chess was translated we have also now translated he laws of cricket, netball, boxing, and cycling. We will be launching the translated laws of table tennis on Africa day on 25 May 2025.

 I am also pleased to see Dr Advocate Lyndon Bouah who was competing here as well. I am partially responsible for his grey hairs as he has a tough job in promoting sport and recreation in the Western Cape on an everyday basis. I am happy to be here today where he is launching his seventh book in his Reflection series. This book is on the Moja Chess Extravaganza held in October 2023 in Kimberley. These books provide an important glimpse into chess and allow us to celebrate our history in this priority code. I have read a few of the books and enjoyed them immensely. Thank you also to Dr Jabulani Mokoena for coming down from Kimberley to celebrate the book which is about your event and what you are doing for Northern Cape chess.

I started as Minister in 2015 and one of my first events that I attended was the SA Open in July 2015 held at the Cape Sun. I was very impressed with the amount of juniors and the player numbers. I was introduced to many persons and I recall meeting Grandmasters  Nigel Short, Kunte and Strikovic. The Western Cape has a long history of chess and each day when I walk to parliament, I walk through Burg Street where the first SA Closed event took place in 1892.

(leon put that old photo here again of Burg street please)

I have also attended the WP League and was very happy to see on average over 850 players participating.  I have also visited the 2016 SA Open at UWC and also supported the youngsters at the Winter Games when they compete with other provinces. Chess is a priority code in South Africa and I am pleased that in this year my department supported the Cape Town Masters, the Women’s championships in West Coast, the Rural Cup, the Inter regions and now the SA Closed. Many of the players that are present here have also come through our Club Development Programme. Speaking of clubs, I also note that in 2025, Cape Town Chess Club, the oldest chess club in the country and the second oldest in the Southern Hemisphere will celebrate 140 years of continuous chess play. The Western Cape government is committed to the development of chess and chess mastery in the Western Cape.      

I end off by firstly

  1. Acknowledging the winners of the Open, Women and Senior section. The winners will be announced shortly today. Congratulations to the winners. I also wish to thanks all those who gave up their time to compete in this prestigious event and also to those who travelled from afar, thank you.
  • I understand that some of you have qualified to represent the country in Budapest, Hungary and also in Krakow, Poland.
  • I wish you well on your travels and also for the competition. Do remember that you are representing over 60 million South Africans.
  • Represent us with pride and dignity.
  • It is always a pleasure being here with you and I shall look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

MEC Anroux Marais  Conclusion

Thank you to all the organisers for organising the event. I am sure that the next SA Closed will also be exciting!

I end off with some interesting statistics.

First up are the new champions.

SA Closed Champions in the Open section since 1994

1994 Cape TownDeon Solomons111385%RR14 C de Villiers (10.5), W.Kobese (10) and L. Bouah (9)  
199538Cape TownDavid Gluckman7.51168%SW20G, H 
199839Bruma LakeMark Rubery & Watu Kobese8.51177%RR12G, HNo playoff match was held.  
200040Port ElizabethNicholas van der Nat6.5  972%  RR10  G, H 
200141JohannesburgWatu Kobese Unknown RR Lyndon** no games or cross-table
200342Kempton ParkWatu Kobese & Kenneth Solomon81173%RR12G, HNo playoff match was held.  
200543Cape TownNicholas van der Nat81080%RR11G, H 
200744Cape TownHenry R Steel8.51177%RR12G, H 
200945Cape TownNicholas van der Nat91182%RR12G, H 
201146Cape TownHenry R Steel & Watu Kobese91182%RR12G, HNo playoff match was held.  
201447Cape TownDonovan van den Heever81173%RR12G, H 
201548Cape TownDaniel Cawdery91182%RR12G, H 
201749Cape TownJohannes Mabusela & Calvin Klaasen7.51168%RR12G, HNo playoff match was held.  
201950Cape TownDaniel Barrish7.51168%RR12G, H   
202251Cape TownDaniel Cawdrey6875%RR9 Ahead of Banele Mhango on direct encounter. Both ended on 6.  
202452Cape TownDaniel Barrish 81173%RR12G,HAhead of Caleb Levitan

SA Closed Women Champions 

  1. 2000 – Michelle Minnaar
  2. 2001 – WIM Cecile van der Merwe 
  3. 2002 – Mignon Pretorius
  4. 2003 – Mignon Pretorius 
  5. 2004   – Carmen De Jager 
  6. 2005.  – WIM Denise Frick 
  7. 2008. – Carmen De Jager 
  8. 2013 – WIM Denise Frick 
  9. 2015 – WIM Denise Frick
  10. 2017 – WIM Jesse February
  11. 2019 – WIM Jesse February
  12. 2022- WFM Chloe Badenhorst
  13. 2024 – WIM Jesse February

South African Senior Champions

In 2017 Chess South Africa introduced the Over fifty section to the SA Closed. 

The winners thus far are:

2017   – PM Mark Lewis 

2019 – Advocate CM Maxwell Solomon

2022 – PM Mark Lewis 

2024 – Dr Lyndon Bouah and Dr Shabier Bhawoodien 

South Africa has twice now sent a team to the Olympiad in the over fifty section. In 2018 the following players represented South Africa in Germany, Dr Shabier Bhawoodien, PM Mark Lewis, Gordon Lawrence, Mr Deon Pick and Mr Cecil Ohlson. 

In 2020 Andre Schutte, Mike Van Schaik, Dr Andrew Southey and Cecil Ohlson. The Olympiad was cut short when Covid hit and flights were affected.

Chessa also announced the Over 65 champion.

2017 – Gordon Lawrence

2019 – Dr Andrew Southey

2022- No player announced

2024- Allister Metcalfe

Interesting facts

  • The youngest players in the SA Closed were.
    • Caleb Levitan – 13 (Open) o Imkhitha Joya – 13 (Women)
  • Two brothers played in the same section – Roland and Glen Willenberg. In their individual game Roland beat Glen.
  • The following debutants were in the Open section.
    • Caleb Levitan o Lutho Mfazwe o Charlton Mnyasta o Michael Simpson o Jan Karsten
  • Three of the debutants made the team which has made the average age of the SA Olympiad team 18.6.
  • The debutants in the Women’s section were:
    • Hayley Nel  o Imkhitha Joya o Davida Strong o Chisomo Boshoma o Helen Rautenbach o Bea Van Zyl
  • Dr Bhawoodien was the World Amateur Champion in 2003.

Thank you, Leon de Jager, for helping me compile the articles. 

I trust that you have all enjoyed the daily reflections.


Dr CM Lyndon Bouah

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