After officially opening the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC) Grandmaster Wesley So moved to Joubert Park for blitz in the park. There was huge excitement among the chess players who were eagerly awaiting the super grandmaster’s visit to Joubert Park. Many keen chess followers would be very familiar with Wesley’s games but would now get the chance to meet him in person.
The chess contingent arrived at Joubert Park after 1130 hrs and before long, everyone was already getting down to the serious business of playing chess. What else? Wesley played in the park for at least 2 hours and by the time he was done he had accounted for just about everyone.
The grandmaster began by playing on the giant chess board. He played at least 3 games on the giant chess board and there were frantic scenes during the games as players tried to keep up with him in the game. Playing on the giant set is quite demanding physically. One makes a move and has to walk to the clock to press it.
After the games on the giant chess set, the focus now moved to the table where the Grandmaster would be based for the rest of his session at Joubert Park. He started off by taking on the young players who started off with some promise but before long the Grandmaster had started his winning streak.
Wesley was playing with time odds of his one minute against three minutes for the other player. If the players thought that Wesley was going to lose a game at Joubert Park they were in for a big surprise. Wesley did not lose a single game. Not only that but he was winning games quite easily and not really being pressed or put under much pressure in this games. It was starting to look more and more like it would be a complete whitewash in all the games.
Wesley had a smile at various points of his games. He seemed very relaxed and having a good time taking on the chess talent in the park.
Despite these odds he did not lose a single game in the park. Only one player was able to hold him to a draw. That was Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa, the spokeperson for the Southern African Junior Chess Champion. However, the game was not without some controversy. Bruce made an illegal towards the end of the game. The grandmaster did not claim an illegal move even though he clearly saw it as shown in the video of the game.
After the games, several pictures were taken. Everyone wanted a photo with the grandmaster and he was more than willing. It was unforgettable afternoon where many players got to fulfill a lifetime dream of playing a super grandmaster right in the heart of Johannesburg at Joubert Park.