The South African Open Chess Championships returned to Durban this year after a 21-year break and was held from the 14th to the 22nd July 2017 at Glenwood High School in Durban. The tournament has a long and established history dating back to 1962! It was initially run every two years but has been held annually since 1995.

The Championship section attracted players from South Africa, Botswana, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They played alongside hundreds of juniors who participated in the development sections with the event attracting more than 450 players in total.

Four learners and 1 staff member from Glenwood High School were involved in the tournament. Naseem Essa competed in the Championship section, Chad Blomeyer and Ethan Khan competed in the B section and Declan Munsamy competed in the C section. Mr Sookdeo was one of the tournament officials and organisers.

Declan Munsamy scored 3.5 points out of 6, finishing 65th from 227 participants. Ethan Khan scored 4 points out of 11, finishing 78th from 119 participants, improving on his seeded rank by 13 positions. Chad Blomeyer scored 5.5 points out of 11, finishing 45th.

Naseem Essa scored 7 points out of 11, finishing 18th from 125 participants, improving his seeded rank by 46 positions. Naseem had a remarkable tournament with the most notable result of a draw against the 2nd seed of the tournament ranked 62 places higher.

Due to his excellent results, Naseem Essa achieved the best placed under 1800 rating category prize.

Report by Mr D Sookdeo