2024 South African Closed – Chess. FM Daniel Barrish is Open Champion and WIM Jesse February is the Women’s Champion

WIM Jesse February

The 2024 South African Closed Chess Championship was recently concluded. Congratulations to FM Daniel Barrish and WIM Jesse February, winners of the 2024 South African Closed Chess Championships. The tournament was hosted by the Cape Town Chess Federation at the Newlands Cricket Ground.

The format of both the open and women’s tournaments was 12-player round robins with classical time control. The tournament would determine the champions of men’s and women’s chess in South Africa, together with establishing who would earn the honour of representing South Africa at the upcoming Chess Olympiad.

In the women’s section, the competition was fierce, but one player stood out from the rest. Jesse February, representing Western Province, had put on a dominant performance, finishing with an impressive score of 10.5 points out of a possible 11. Her closest rival, Charlize van Zyl, representing Eastern Cape, had to settle for second place with 9 points, having missed out on a crucial game due to a scheduling conflict. In Third Place was WFM Chloe Badenhorst with 8 points, Robyn Klaasen on 6,5 points and Hayley Nel on 6 points.

Fifth seed Daniel Barrish was in imperious form throughout the tournament, delivering an impressive performance. He took clear first in the open section and finished a full point ahead of the runner-up Fide Master Caleb Levitan. The champion scored 8/11 and was the only unbeaten player in the tournament. International Master (IM) Jan Karsten netted 6.5/11 and won bronze for his efforts.

Fide Master (FM) and SA Closed Open Champion Daniel Barrish

The rise and rise of 13-year-old Caleb Levitan from Gauteng continues. He was a revelation in the tournament, with an incredible effort, and finished in second place with 7 points, followed by IM Jan Carsten with 6,5 points. Charlton Mnyasta, FM Banele Mhango, IM Daniel Cawdery, Jacob Mnguni and IM Watu Kobese were tied in Fourth place with 6 points each.

Caleb’s performance in the tournament was all the more noteworthy given that he had gone undefeated until the final round, where he was beaten by the experienced Banele Mhango. Given the young age of the Men’s Team, it is fair to say that the future of South African chess is in safe hands.

Another young man to keep an eye on is Charlton Mnyatsa. A fellow chess player, Llewelyn Louw, had the following to say about him on Facebook:

Charlton Mnyatsa

“I think Charlton Mnyasta finishing 4th and making the SA Team for the Olympiad speaks volumes about the chess work that Cape Town Chess Federation have put in over the past few years. From hosting IM Norm events to organizing the prestigious Capetown Masters, we’ve tirelessly worked to elevate the standard of chess in our community. These efforts have not only provided platforms for players to hone their skills but have also cultivated a competitive environment that pushes them to excel.

Charlton’s journey is particularly inspiring. His dedication, hard work, and talent have propelled him to this remarkable achievement. It’s a testament to what can be accomplished with perseverance and passion for the game.

I want to extend my gratitude to everyone who has supported us along the way. Whether it’s through encouragement, sponsorship, or simply being present at our events, your contribution has made a significant impact. Together, we’re shaping a brighter future for young chess enthusiasts like Charlton, and I’m excited to see where their journey takes them next.

Special mention goes to Elsies River Chess Club for nurturing this youngster into the Champ that he has become.”

Below is the final standings in the Open:

Final Standings Women

Sources – Facebook, Fide website – https://www.fide.com/news/2949

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