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Chess stalwart wins seniors’

A local chess player has won the South African Seniors’ Chess Championship held in Durbanville in December.

Long-standing Hermanus resident Andrew Southey won the section for over 65-year olds. The tournament was played over 11 rounds (11 days) and ended on 17 December 2019.

Martin Brink, Vice-Chair of the Hermanus Chess Club, says the seniors played in a combined section (over-50s and over-65s together) and Southey was placed first in the over-65s section and third in the over-50s.

He said: “This is the second time Andrew has won this prestigious title. He has also been included in the South African national team to play in the World Senior Team Chess Championship to be played in Prague from 5 to 15 March.”

Southey says he expects the World Senior Championship to be very intense as the majority of the English and European players will be Grand Masters (GM). “There will not be much time for travel.”

Another highlight in Southey’s chess career was when he won a gold medal for South Africa during the 2018 Common Wealth Games in India.

“I believe I was the only South African to win a gold medal for chess. It was quite significant,” he said.

He says he played chess as a young man, but had stopped for 22 years. When he decided to take up the sport again he had to relearn a lot of things, due to the new technology available. Southey explains the massive amount of information availible online and use of chess engines has vastly improved the quality of the game being played.

He is a member of the Hermanus Chess Club which won the prize as the best Best Overberg Team of 2019 awarded by the Overberg Chess Federation.

“He is an active participant in regular Hermanus Chess Club meetings,” says Brink. “He spends a lot of time with young players passing on his invaluable knowledge of the game of chess.”

Southey, however, says he is no mentor, but enjoys playing against the younger players in the club. He says one in particular, Connor Opperman, has shown great potential.

One of several young players from Hermanus Chess Club participating in the South African Junior Chess Championship in Johannesburg, Connor had won all seven of his games. He played on board one for the under tens and met a chess legend Super Grand Master Levon Aronian.

Southey says the value of mental sports, especially chess, should not be underestimated, as it helps with such life skills as discipline and how to think about things.

“After a 40-year innings with the game in Hermanus, it is wonderful to see all the new young players at the chess club,” he says.

The Hermanus Chess Club meets every Thursday at Onrus Manor, from 15:30 to 18:30. For more information contact Martin at 076 593 0010 or martin.brink72@gmail.com

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