Friday 16 October 2015

Reflections by Candidate Master Lyndon Bouah

All Hail the Hyenas Chess Club National Club Championship!

The 2015 National Club Champions are the Hyenas Chess club from Gauteng. In a three way race between the Hyenas, Port Elizabeth and Steinitz chess clubs, the Hyenas triumphed by half a point. The final standings were Hyenas - 21, PE and Steinitz chess clubs 20.5. Steinitz and the eventual champions drew 2.2 in a tough and bruising encounter, whilst PE beat Steinitz and lost to the Hyenas. Steinitz Juniors won the B section in a close encounter.
Glenwood High Honors Board

Steinitz Chess Club stayed at Glenwood High School which is one of the oldest high schools in Durban. Founded in 1910 it has a history which it is very proud of. The school honours it's pupils and it is school that the school loves its sport. I was enthralled with its history. On the Honours Boards I saw the name of Marc Mundell who will probably represent South Africa in the next Olympic Games in Rio in the 50 km walk. The latest Springbok is Warren Whiteley who has both his sevens and fifteen man rugby colours. The school is proud of its hockey, rugby and a host of other codes.

Steinitz's Ivan Fortune gives the thumbs up to Glenwood High's
outdoor chess set, in the background is the Putt Putt course.
The facilities at the school are simply magnificent. I read in Wikipedia that ten acres of land were granted by the city fathers back in 1909 to allow the school to be built. At our first lunch we ate in the entertainment area which was boarded by a chess board. Adjacent to the chess board was a putt putt course which I thought was a magnificent use of the grounds. 

Whilst seated in the dining room I noticed a table tennis board in the courtyard. It was made of cement and was an all weather item. 

All Weather Table Tennis
Next to the table tennis board was a trampoline which the water polo youngsters staying at the residence enjoyed. The school hosted about four separate groups of sporting codes whilst we were there. The facilities all round were really a sight to behold. The school is on the corner of Ester Roberts and Alan Paton of Cry the Beloved Country. 

2015 National Club Championship underway at
Glenwood Preparatory School
We played at Glenwood Preparatory school. Another fantastic school which prides itself on its academic and sport prowess. It features heavily in aquatics, netball and cricket. The facilities at the school was at a high level and I understand perfectly why so many top sportsmen and women emanate from Kwazulu Natal. They love their sport at school level and they have the facilities to practice.

IM Daniel Bwalya was the top scorer on board 1

The event was an interesting one for me personally. This year I have not played much chess as I focused on my studies. This was my fourth event for the year and my rustiness showed a bit. I played as expected. I scored 4.5 out of seven. I lost to International Masters Gillan Bwalya and Daniel Cawdrey who are rated 2288 and 2408 respectively.  Cawdrey simply crushed me, whilst I had a good game against Bwalya. In our analysis Bwalya showed me a few ideas which could've given me chances. Bwalya beat Daniel and scored 6.5 out of seven to secure the board prize. Cawdrey scored 5.5 out of seven to finish second. 
IM Daniel Cawdery
I was hugely impressed with the play and demeanor of Daniel Cawdrey. He played fast and accurately and seemed to enjoy the banter in the analysis room when he went over his games.  He did not hesitate to offer suggestions when approached by other players. Bwalya I met for the first time at the event. He won the Zone 4.3 championship last year and is indeed a strong player.  I never really saw him fazed at anything his opponents threw at him.
Joseph Mwale deep in thought
My astute captain Mark Lewis managed our team with some aplomb. I am normally the captain but Mark assumed the captaincy as I am on my sabbatical year from active leadership. This allowed me to concentrate on my game solely. It is obvious that when you play board one you must prepare well.  Lack of preparation is soon exposed at this level. I held my own and my favourite game was against Joseph Mwale 2088 whom I defeated in a brilliancy.
Hyena’s gentle giant
Stephen Skosana

The Hyenas Chess Team was completed by Kgaugelo Mosethlele whom I have known for a long time. He played board two and was their captain. He received his Protea colours in 2008 when SA won the zone 4.3 championship in Mozambique by one point. He proudly recounted the fact that he has now won the South African club championships three times with three different chess clubs i.e Brooklyn chess club, Steinitz chess club and now the Hyenas chess club. 

The board three Stephen Skosana is a gentle giant. He plays a hard game and often compliments other teams for their strong brand of chess. It is people like him that we need to promote and boost South African chess. Earlier this year the New Age carried an article in which they interviewed him and he was quoted as saying they are the best club in the country. I then called him to gently chastise him that according to the record books Steinitz was still the national club champions.  He laughed and said that the Hyenas were amongst the best chess clubs. Stephen your premonition has now come true. Well done and congrats again.

The fourth board Ntando Zwakala was not known to me. At 2034 in rating I should know him but I have not seen him play yet at a SA open or SA closed. A player to watch for the future, he just needs to watch the late night analysis sessions with Bacchus which can tire out players I'm told. 
Glenwood Chess Club Exco Sayen Naidu and Divesh Sookdeo next
to arbiters Michael Bornheim and Nadean Gopaulsingh
On Saturday morning we had a bit of an incident when one of the players in the event was a bit tired from the previous nights all night analysis. He played ten moves and fell asleep at the board for 80 minutes. He lost on time as the arbiters didn't allow anyone to wake him!
Ewan Kromhout

The PE team spearheaded by Cawdrey had one of the grand old men of SA chess, Ewan Kromhout on board two. Ewan held his own on board two and genuinely felt bad that he beat Craig Willenberg who had a better position in the game. The next day he told Mark and myself that he Outwillenberged Craig! Well done Ewan it's good to see you still playing with the fire of old when you won seventeen EP Open titles. We look forward seeing you play at the over fifties SA Closed in December!

On board three Alex Kromhout played very well and very actively. The son of Ewan had just came off a good second place from the previous weeks FIDE event in Nelson Mandela Bay. A smooth operator he was a stalwart for the team. Dropping only one game in the event to Durban Chess Club's Desmond Rooplal.

On board four Jack Van Zyl Rudd played some good chess and comfortably held his board.  I like the spunk of the young man and he is not shy to play good moves and then take a leisurely stroll around the room looking at other games like a seasoned pro. Jack seems to be enjoying his game which augurs well for his chess future.
Steinitz A vs Glenwood B

In the Steinitz team Craig Willenberg played board two. He is having a resurgence in his chess life and takes his games very seriously. He was very upset with himself when he lost to Ewan, took a round off and came back strong. I hope to one day see him in the SA Closed which is one of the few things he has not accomplished in his chess career. In the game against Mosethle he was down to two minutes with Mosethle still having fifteen. That didn't faze him. He simply went on to beat him.

On board three Kenny Willenberg showed glimpses of his former illustrious past. Kenny was able to hold his own against the likes of GM Kenny Solomon in their junior years. He allowed too many draws against weaker rated players and I am sure that this event will allow him to get back to his best.

Mark Lewis on board four played like the senior player he is. He knew when to draw and when to go for the win.  It is not easy captaining and managing this team but he handled everything efficiently and expertly.

Glenn Willenberg was our board five. He played three games and was happy with his play. It was also his maiden flight so all of us were happy for Glenn.

I now must end as it is 18:05 and we about to commence our descent.  I will continue in the next edition of on my other reflections of the event.


Lyndon Bouah
Reporting live from flight JE 361 somewhere over the Western Cape.