Chess Grandmaster Wesley So of the US will be visiting Joubert Park in Johannesburg to take on the local chess players in the park. He will be taking on the players from 1100 hrs (local time) on Sunday, 16 December 2018. If you are a chess fan and around Joburg on Sunday, you might want to join in the action at the park. The grandmaster from US is in South Africa to promote chess and to officially open the Southern African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC). The SAJCC is taking place at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg. There is a great deal of excitement among the chess players in Joburg about the grandmaster’s visit.
Earlier in the year Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura also paid a visit to Joubert Park and did not leave the park unscathed. He lost a blitz game to International Master and South African Champion Johannes Mabusela. The balance of power was soon restored when Nakamura beat Mabusela in the second game. Mabusela was the only player to take a game against his highly fancied opponent. It was a feat that no other player in the park could repeat.
No doubt that many chess players are going to try their chances against Wesley So. Will anyone be able to beat this Grandmaster who at one stage was World number 2 and could be a future contender for the World Chess Crown currently held by Magnus Carlsen? I would not bet on it.
Wesley So is a super strong player who I believe is getting even stronger and more impressive in blitz. He came close to beating Hikaru Nakamura in their chess.com Speed Championship Blitz match. Wesley will probably know about Nakamura’s trip to the park last year and will want to do better.
If the author got a chance he too would love to play the grandmaster. Who knows if this will be possible given the huge interest that has been generated by Grandmaster Wesley So’s trip. These are interesting times for chess in South Africa.
Has a tradition been started of bringing Super Chess Grandmasters to this country at the SAJCC? I don’t know but I am certainly not complaining about this as a chess fan and player. It can only mean more great things for our game of chess in Africa.
For more pictures and updates regarding Wesley So’s trip please follow the SAJCC Facebook page which is posting several updates on an ongoing basis.