The South African Open Chess Festival took place from the 15th – 23rd of June at Mittah Seperepere International Convention Centre. The South African Open Chess Festival ran concurrently with the South African Schools Individual Chess Championships, the South African Rapid Chess Championships and the South African Blitz Chess championships.
The Festival hosted a diverse range of players from England, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Namibia and is proudly one of the biggest chess championships in South Africa. The Northern Cape won the bid to host the championship and because of the lengthy bidding process they had less than two months to prepare for the tournament. There were over 170 players that took part in the open tournament.
Tournaments can be quite costly as players need to travel and find accommodation when partaking, the Airport Hotel and Protea Hotel assisted by giving affordable accommodation to those that came for the tournament. The Northern Cape Tourism Authority and the Northern Cape Department of Sports, Arts and Culture assisted with the tournament. Mr Warren Ahjum, Chief Organiser said, “We are grateful for the support as we would not have been able to host if these entities did not assist us”.
The top 3 players after 9 rounds for the South African Open Chess Championship were Mabusela Johannes Manyedi with 7,5 points at number one, Kobese Watu came second with 7 points and in third place was Mhango Banele with 7 points, all players ranking these positions are from South Africa.
Mr Warren Ahjum explained, “We are in the process of presenting to the Department of Education the importance of implementing chess as a compulsory subject in schools from as early as the foundation phase. Chess has been proven to help with Mathematics and Science and is beneficial for all who partake in it”.