Press Release – Grandmaster Wesley So Officially Opens the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC)

Grandmaster Wesley So officially opens the Southern African Junior Chess Champion

Super chess grandmaster Wesley So officially opened the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC) on Sunday, 16 December. The event, which is the largest chess tournament in South Africa and one of the biggest chess events in Africa, has seen at least 2300 players and 300 coaches and team managers attending from all over the country.

Wesley, who was introduced by SAJCC Chief Arbiter Ronald King will be involved in a number of activities to promote chess in South Africa including playing in doubles, having a 102-board simultaneous exhibition on Wednesday, a question and answer session with some of the top players in South Africa and a visit to Joubert Park later in the day. The simultaneous chess exhibition, where the grandmaster faces many players at the same time, is the largest ever chess simul in the history of chess in South Africa.

In his remarks the grandmaster, who has come all the way from Minnesota in the US, mentioned that he was very pleased to be at the SAJCC and in South Africa. He also spoke about his excitement at seeing the next generation of chess players at the tournament.

Wesley also thanked the people who had been involved in making his trip possible including Tournament Director Hendrik Du Toit and Tournament Organizer Judie-Marie Steenkamp. He also thanked Graham Jurgensen of the Kasparov Chess Foundation for the role he had played. He wished the players well in the tournament and was looking forward to some great chess over the course of the tournament.

Later in the morning Wesley went off to Joubert Park where he faced some of the local chess players in the park. He was playing with time odds of his one minute against three minutes for the other player. Despite these odds he did not lose a single game in the park. Only one player was able to hold him to a draw, Bruce Mubayiwa, the spokesperson for the SAJCC.

It was a very sad start to the day for everyone at the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC 2018). A moment of silence was observed during the opening of the SAJCC Tournament for two people who died on their way to the chess tournament. Rico van Zyl and his mother Sarina van Zyl passed away in a car accident on their way to the SAJCC from Sasolburg.

SAJCC expressed their deepest condolences to the family and friends of the van Zyl’s and the Sedibeng Chess Region. An open board will be kept throughout the tournament for Rico van Zyl.

Enquiries

Bruce Mubayiwa
Spokesperson
Cell: 081 598 6377
Email: bruce@africachess.net

Reint Dykema
Social media and photos
Cell: 082 898 0997
https://web.facebook.com/SOUTHAFRICANJUNIORCHESSCHAMPIONSHIPS/

Chess Grandmaster Wesley So to visit Joubert Park Sunday 16 December

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.

Grandmaster Wesley So and his mother at the foot of the giant Nelson Mandela in Sandton. 

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. 

Media Invitation to the opening of the Southern African Junior Chess Championship

SAJCC Invitation

15 December 2018

Invitation to the opening of the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC)

You are hereby invited to the Official Opening of the Southern African Junior Chess Championship (SAJCC). The SAJCC runs from 16 to 20 December. A total of 2200 players will participate in the team event with 300 coaches and managers that will support them. 30 arbiters will oversee the running of the event. 24 Regions affiliated to CHESS South Africa across the country will be sending their players.

The SAJCC is the largest tournament in South Africa and one of the biggest chess tournaments on the whole continent. Chess players taking part in the event will be from Under 8 right up to Under 20  according to Hendrik du Toit the tournament director.   

Super chess grandmaster and one of the top chess players in the world, Grandmaster Wesley So of the United States will officially open the Southern African Junior Chess Championship on the 16th of December. As part of a continuing drive to raise the profile of the game of chess in South Africa, Grandmaster Wesley So will also play a simultaneous chess exhibition and also host a masterclass on chess. On 18 December the American grandmaster will play in one of the largest ever simultaneous chess exhibition to be held in South Africa. He will face 115 chess players at the same time in what will also be a historic event in Africa. It will be the largest ever simultaneous chess exhibition ever to held in South Africa and probably on the continent as well.  

Venue: Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre Boksburg

Opening Ceremony of the SAJCC is 16 December at 09H00 at Birchwood

The official tournament website is www.sajcc.co.za

Please find attached programme for the SAJCC.

Enquiries

Bruce Mubayiwa
Media and Marketing
Cell: 081 598 6377
Email: Bruce@africachess.net

Reint Dykema
Social media and photos
Cell: 082 898 0997