Top chess players do battle in Bay
“I feel a little bit nervous but raring to go.”
This was the sentiment of Jack van Zyl-Rudd, 16, of SA, as he came face to face with his opponent, Sahaj Grover, 23, of India, just before the start of the 2019 Boardwalk Pearson Open Chess Open tournament in Port Elizabeth.
Chess grandmasters as well as emerging chess players gathered at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre on Monday for the start of the 10day tournament.
The event is accredited and recognised by the World Chess Federation (Federation Internationale des Echecs, known as FIDE from its French acronym).
A total of about 200 players are expected to participate for the duration of the tournament.
This is the second consecutive year it is being hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Van Zyl-Rudd – a Grade 11 Pearson High School pupil and FIDE master – faced grandmaster Grover in the Grandmaster Norm section.
“I feel good, but nervous at the same time.
“I have been playing the game for nine years.
“I am well prepared for this tournament,” he said.
Grover, who studies media and communications at Nelson Mandela University, said he and Van Zyl-Rudd were training partners.
“I play chess but at the same time I do offer chess coaching.
“It’s a hectic life. I am absolutely looking forward to this tournament,” he said.
The Grand-masters Norm field – which is by invitation only – features players from India, France and Belarus, who will compete until April 3 in a series of competitions.
The FIDE Open will take place from Thursday to Sunday and the Development section on Saturday.
The Open is accessible to all players and the Development event to primary school pupils.
This section is expected to see about 100 chess players participating.
Organiser Tinus Goosen thanked the participants for coming to Nelson Mandela Bay for the tournament.
“We are really privileged this year.
“We hope the tournament will grow further in the future.”
To the contestants, Goosen said: “Hopefully you guys can go back to your countries and remain friends – and friends of South Africa.”
Boardwalk general manager Mike van Vuuren said the Eastern Cape was home to many chess enthusiasts, and many had represented South Africa internationally.
“It is wonderful to see the game of chess alive and thriving in the modern world.
“Certainly, seeing the players, especially the youth, coming through the ranks is most inspiring and we look forward to seeing them all in action at the tournament,” Van Vuuren said.
The public is encouraged to visit the tournament venue during the different stages...