The 2017 edition of the South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) was one of the biggest, greatest and most eventful tournaments on African soil. It was held at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng from the 3rd to the 12th of January 2018. For the sake of clarity the SAJCC is for the year 2017 but was actually held in January. In some years the event is held in December.
The greatest highlight of the tournament was easily GM Hikaru Nakamura’s presence at the tournament. He officially opened the SAJCC, then later on gave a wonderful lecture chess. Then there was his visit to the notorious Joubert Park where he inspired and touched many a chess players hearts. He rounded this off by holding an impressive 101-game-simul, one of the biggest ever of its kind on African soil and then decided to assist and sponsor two lucky chess players who impressed him with their talent.
Left to right: CM Richard Mbedza, Tshediso Mypa, GM Hikaru Nakamura, Clive Mthunzi
Bughouse Doubles Event
In this edition of the tournament there was a Doubles event(Bughouse Chess) for the very first time, where players of all levels partnered up in an insane test of tactics. It was an amazing symphony as players where banging clocks, chopping pieces and screaming commands at their partners bringing out a element of fun standard chess doesn’t possess. It was well received by all players and organizers promised more and higher prizes for the next edition of SAJCC.
There was also a Blitz event in the event with big names like IM Henry Steel(2425), IM Rodwell Makoto(2323) and SA Champion International Master (IM) Johannes Mabusela(2252) playing. The star of the tournament was however none of these big names but Malawi Number 1 Candidate Master (CM)-elect Joseph Mwale(2118) with a clean 7/7 full score with Jakob Mgnuni(2178) and Benjamin Hercules(2163) tied 2nd on 6/7. The best junior was super talented Keith Khumalo(1906).
Tshwane Chess Logo
The team event was dominated by Tshwane(GTP) Chess Region as they won in almost every age category and section. Tshwane was awarded best region.
The board 1 winners of the championship sections are worthy of mention:
U/8 Letivan Caleb(GJM) with 6.5/7 points
U/10 Govender Kaedan(KZN) with 6/7 points
U/12 Govender Shevern(GE) with a amazing 7/7 being 3rd lowest rated on the board.
U/14 Ewald Schoeman(GTP) with 5.5/7 points
U/16 Musa Nyathi(GJM) with 5.5/7 points
U/18 Aron Klevansky(GJM) with 6.5 points
U/20 Mfundo Masiya(GE) with 6.5 points
And in the Girls Section board one winners :
U/10 Talia Govender(GTP) with a clean 7/7 points
U/12 Anri de Villiers(GTP) with a clean 7/7 points
U/14 Kasmira Vather(GTP) with 6.5/7 points
U/16 Hanri Engelbrecht(GTP) with 6/7 points
U/20 Nina Marais with 6/7(GSV) points
This year history was made as the SAJCC had a Section for the first time ever for players with disabilities.
It ran from the 9th to the 11th of January and a 7 round individual swiss format tournament was played.
They competed in three categories:
- Deaf/Hearing impaired – 25 players
- MID(Mildly Intellectually Disabled) – 33 players
- SID(Autism) – 13 player
The Tournament Director Hendrik du Toit said “It has been a life changing experience for this exceptional group young of players. We hope to include more players from across South Africa for the next edition of the tournament.”
The last part of the event was the Inter Region where the best players from all regions in South Africa and also some international players got together to battle. It was a 4 player 7 rounds Fide rated team event played from the 8th to the 12th of January.
There where many hard fought battles and a multitude of upsets in the tournament and the results were as follows:
1st place: JHB Lions featuring
- IM Rodwell Makoto
- FM Matt Pon
- FM Roberto de Abreu
- FM Francois Oberholzer
- Shumel Goldberg
2nd place: Tshwane Rebels
- Joseph Mwale
- Sayen Naidu
- WIM Jesse Nikki February
- WFM Michelle M Fisher
- Marthinus Prinsloo
3rd place: Tshwane The A team
- Kgaugelo Mosetlhe
- CM Roland Bezuidhout
- Jacob Dumisani Mnguni
- Benjamin Vincent Hercules
- Heinco du Plessis
- Siyabonga V. Choko with a superb performance and win over IM Rodwell Makoto
- Tshediso M. Mypa
- WIM Jesse Nikki February
- Victor S Mantati
It was a very successful SAJCC. We look forward to the next edition and hope it will be even better.