The South Africa Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC), chess extravaganza with over 2400 players

The South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) hosted at the University of Cape Town from 3 to 10 January 2016 was truly a massive event in its scope , a chess extravaganza if you like over the course of an entire week. At least  two thousand four hundred chess players took part in the  SAJCC tournament and there were over two hundred and forty teams of ten players per team took part in the event. It was hard to believe that there were so many chess players, so much chess taking place in one place. For a whole week thousands of people lived, breathed and ate chess. From the start to the end of the tournament there was excellent coverage of the tournament in the media.

Pictures from some of the winning teams

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During the tournament, there was  an analysis room  at the Sports Centre that players and coaches could use.  It was a hive of activity throughout the City Sports Centre, the players in deep thought in the hall while nervous and anxious parents and coaches followed the games from the terraces, often for many hours before there was a result.
How can one forget the arbiters, what a job they had during the tournament.ArbitersThey have to criss-cross the hall endlessly as they attend to all kinds of queries. In the last hour of play it seems the number of blunders and illegal moves just increased. I for one did not envy the arbiters. One evening I saw a player who was completely winning, perhaps overcome with excitement, make an illegal move while in check.

Unfortunately he had moved his queen, and had to use the piece to block the check and the piece went for absolutely nothing. He resigned a move later. I felt for him. All those hours spent racking his brains and now it ends so suddenly and so painfully. How do you console such a player?

More pictures

During the tournament we were able to follow the games being played. How was this possible? Spare a thought for those who captured the games so that we can get them in PGN. They have to try and read the handwriting of players who under pressure can sometimes write like doctors, no offence to doctors.

There are many people running around behind the scenes to make sure that the shuttles arrive and drop off people, the rounds start on time and that things work as they should. It is hard to imagine that a venue can have as many as two thousand one hundred and fifty-eight people, all trying to checkmate each other.

The determination of the players just to get that point is just amazing. The time control means that players can be playing for at least 3 hours per round not even taking the increment into account. This means by the end of the day they can played for at least 6 hours a day. Getting rest before games is EXTREMELY important

All the best to our players and teams, some of whom are doing very well. There is still a great deal to play for in this tournament. The teams have 10 players and every single board makes a difference. May the best team and player win.”

It was such great pity I could not capture Roland Willenberg on video during the ‪#‎SAJCC2015‬ prize-giving. I missed the golden opportunity I had. His energy and support of the Western Province Team is really amazing. Seeing him in these junior chess championships is for me one of the highlights of the events. Great to see people so passionate about the game of chess.

Roland Willemberg
Andrew Fisher, the Convenor of the SAJCC 2015 gave updates every morning  during the chess championships to keep everyone in the loop with important information about the tournament.
Andrew Fisher
The buses ferrying players to and from the hostel to the playing venue worked liked clockwork which was extremely convenient for all concerned. It meant that players could focus on their most important task, playing chess!
Pictures from the Cape Town at the Inter Provincials and wild card events. The Inter-Provincial and Wild Card Events followed the main South African Junior Chess Championship.

Update from the ‪#‎SAJCC2015‬ Prize-giving ceremony

Deon Solomons , President of Western Province began his address for the prize-giving of the #SAJCC2015 which had kicked off with the introduction of the CHESS SOUTH AFRICA Executive Board.

There are many people who have been working behind the scenes to make the event a reality. 4000 litres of water have been supplied to #SAJCC2015.

Mark Lewis, the President of Western Cape gave his welcome remarks and the role of the Western Cape Province in the event. The number of players from the Western Cape taking part in the event wad amazing. Mark acknowledges the people he has been working with in the province. He ended with the following quote: No matter how many games you have lost you are still a winner.

Shanks Naidoo, Vice president of CHESS SOUTH AFRICA, expressed deep gratitude at the hosting of the event. There’s a lot that went into the hosting of an event of this magnitude. One of the big challenges was funding to ensure that players are able to make the event. Shanks ended by challenging the next CHESS SA to organise a bigger event.

A representative of the Provincial government was on hand to talk about the importance of chess in the province. The department of Sport and Recreation fully endorses chess. One of the greatest opportunities you can give learners is the opportunities to play sport. Well done to all the winners who will get their prizes. Chess is one of the codes where there’s a close working relationship between the Federation structures and the school structures. Chess is one of the codes where the province is doing exceptionally well as evidenced by the performance of the schools in national events.

CHESS SOUTH AFRICA President Eldo Smart was called upon to give some remarks. He asked all the arbiters to stand up. The arbiters are the unsung heroes of the game of chess. They were the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. Eldo shared the story of a child in the tournament who with a perfect 6 points was in a completely winning position. However, he agreed to a draw with his opponent in the last game, why? The opponent was crying because he only had one point in the whole tournament. So this very strong chess players sacrificed half a point for the sake of a weaker players. The fact that you are already here at the #SAJCC2015 makes you a winner. The motto at the Department of Sport is Better Together. That applies a great deal to chess players.

Report by Bruce Mubayiwa, who attended the event as a Teach Manager for Northern Cape, Under 14A Team.

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