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Sport
Young chess players excel

Local chess enthusiasts showed their mettle during the Junior Chess Championships earlier this month when two of the three teams from the Overberg Chess Federation (OCF) took gold in their age categories.

The South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) took place at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg from 3 to 8 January and the u-10, u-12 and u-14 Overberg teams competed on national level.

According to Gracia Joshua, secretary at OCF the u-10 A-team did a sterling job in winning their category and receiving a gold medal.

“The team consisted of Connor Opperman (Curro Hermanus), Tayden MacKenzie (Kleinmond Primary), Michaely Arendse (Gansbaai Primary), Madden Joshua (Generation Hermanus), Sinawo Magida, Anelisa Mbuli, Khazimla Ntontelo, Liso Macamba (Lukhanyo Primary), Lakeisha Hendricks (Kleinmond Primary) and Francois Olivier (Kleinmond Primary).

“The u-14 A-team also took first prize. The members of the u-14 A-team are Jawon Gabriels (Gansbaai Primary), Jordan Fillis (Swellendam Primary), Jared Fillis (Swellendam Primary), Duwayne Thomson (Swellendam Primary), Suewin Jonas (Swellendam Primary), Heinrich Moses (Swellendam Primary), Ayola Dondolo, Malani Hlanzela, Juan Witbooi (Swellendam Primary) and Grashwil Amsterdam (Swellendam Primary),” she adds.

The u-12 A-team that includes Samantha Brink (Overberg Primary), Lanique Beukes (Overberg Primary), Miguel da Silva (Generation Hermanus), Anisa Koko, Russel Byrne (Robertson Primary), Juan Witbooi, Sintle Roto, Christiaan Muller (Swellendam Primary), Mlibo Mfundisi and Zininzi Livi won bronze in their category.

Board prizes were awarded to Connor Opperman (u-10), Tayden MacKenzie (u-10), Anelisa Mbuli (u-10), Francois Olivier (u-12), Zininzi Livi (u-14), Jordan Fillis (u-14), Jared Fillis (u-14), Ayola Dondola (u-14), Malani Hlanzela (u-14), Heinrich Moses (u-14) and Suewin Jonas (u-14).

The championships were opened by Super Grandmaster Levon Aronian who is from Armenia and who is currently rated number six in the World Live Chess ratings list. In order to raise the profile of the game of chess in South Africa, Aronian took part in various activities to promote the game.

This included a simultaneous chess game against 100 junior chess players from all over South Africa.

He also took time to pose for photos with certain of the players and this also granted them the opportunity to get the grandmaster’s autograph.

“The Overberg Chess Federation wants to thank Overberg Sports Council, the parents and guardians, head coach Marius van der Westhuizen, the team managers and the Overberg community for their support and contributions that made all of this possible,” says Joshua.

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