2022 South African Closed Championship – final reflection
by Dr Lyndon Bouah
I have just returned from a wonderful day of watching some great chess at the final round of the 2022 South African Closed Chess Championship held at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. There were three sections, and I shall deal with each one.
Senior Section (Over 50- section)
This event which was held for the third time was won by Mark Lewis from Steinitz Chess Club in Cape Town. Mark was in superb form winning the event with 7.5/9. This was his second triumph after winning the first one held in 2017. CM Maxwell Solomon won the 2019 edition.
In the final round Mark played a great game against Dr Omar Esau who was making his debut in the SA Closed. In the final position Dr Esau could not stop the two mate threats that Mark had generated.
Dr Omar Esau v Mark Lewis
In second place was Hans Steyn from Pretoria Chess Club. Hans was making his debut and showed good form by scoring 6.5/9.
In third place was Cecil Ohlson from Grassy Park Chess Club in Cape Town. Cecil scored 6.5. In 2017 Ohlson ended 5th, in 2019 he was 4th and in 2022 he was 3rd. I think Ohlson will be challenging for honours in the next four years!
The SA senior Team will be announced soon, and they will try to register for Italy 2022 where the Senior Olympiad is being held.
The women’s section was a tightly fought contest with a number of players in with a Let’s have a look at the names on the trophy and let’s see who added her name:
- Michelle Minnaar
- WIM Cecile Van Der Merwe
- 2002 – Mignon Pretorius
- 2003 – Mignon Pretorius
- 2004 – Carmen De Jager
- 2005 – WIM Denise Frick
- 2008 – Carmen De Jager
- 2013 – WIM Denise Frick
- 2015 – WIM Denise Frick
- 2017 – WIM Jesse February
- 2019- WIM Jesse February
- 2022- Chloe Badenhorst
It is thus noted that at the beginning of the twentieth century the Ladies played a separate SA closed and staged one event every year until it was combined with the Open section of the Closed. Many players have asked me why it is called the Open Closed. Well, that’s because the Open is open to men and women whereas the women is only open to the women!
And yes you read correctly that between 2008 and 2013 there was no SA Closed for women. I am glad that this has now been corrected.
WIM Cecile van der Merwe in 2005 became the first and thus far only women to play in the open section of the Closed in 2005. Interestingly in 2005 WIM Marany Meyer played in the African Championships in the Open section. So that was quite a revolutionary year for women’s chess.
In the Women’s section a new champion emerged. Chloe Badenhorst, who is still at school, played exceptionally well to end first. She won 117 rating points and was seeded second last when the event started. She plays some exciting openings and I like her aggression.
WIM Jesse February came second and both players have now qualified directly for the Olympiad team. In third place was WIM Charlize Van Zyl who had a great event as well.
WIM Anzel Laubscher v Chloe Badenhorst
In the Open section IM Daniel Cawdrey secured victory with an early draw against IM Watu Kobese. He scored 6/9.
Joining IM Cawdrey on 6/9 was FM Banele Mhango also scored 6/9. In terms of the tie breaks Cawdery wins as he beat Mhango in their direct encounter. Interestingly Mhango scored 6 wins and 2 losses while Cawdery was unbeaten.
In third spot was GM Kenny Solomon who scored 5.5.
Cawdery and Mhango have now qualified directly for the Olympiad team. This will be the debut for Mhango and he is also the first player from Mpumalanga to make the Olympiad team.
The pace was relentless in this section as each player was capable of causing an upset. Kobese and Zonal Champion Calvin Klaasen will be disappointed with their score.
Daniel Barrish played excellently and his win against GM Kenny Solomon was a great game for him.
GM Kenny Solomon v Daniel Barrish
In turn I was impressed with the technique of Mhango who beat Barrish in a marathon 5-hour struggle on Friday night! please use it.
Daniel Barrish v Banele Mhango
Past winners from 2000 of SA Closed Championship – Open Section
I give the winners since 2000. This event started in 1892 so this year celebrated the 130th anniversary!
2000 – FM Nicholas van der Nat
2001 – IM Watu Kobese
2003 – IM Watu Kobese and Kenny Solomon
2005 – FM Nicholas van der Nat
2007 – Henry Steel
2009 – FM Nicholas Van Der Nat
2011 – Henry Steel and IM Watu Kobese
2013- Donovan Van den Heever
2015 – IM Daniel Cawdery
2017- IM Johannes Mabusela and FM Calvin Klaasen
2019- FM Daniel Barrish
2022- IM Daniel Cawdrey
IM Daniel Cawdrey is a true promoter of the game and on Thursday he posed with some schoolboys who came to watch. It was a great advertisement for the game.
About the author
Dr Lyndon Bouah is an advocate and was captain of the South African Open team during the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. He is also one of Africa’s most prolific chess writers.