Rhodes University took part in the University of Fort Hare’s Open tournament at Fort Hare, Alice, on 14 May 2016.
Rhodes participated in their first provincial tournament, which proved successful despite initial skepticism. Rhodes sent six players partake in this tournament who returned home triumphantly. Lindiwe Winnie, the Chairperson of the Rhodes University Chess Club (RUCC), was very pleased with their performance despite it being their first competitive tournament, saying; “Four out of six players all getting a prize of some sort is a great achievement for the chess club and the university as a whole. This shows dedication from the players and we are only hoping better and take chess to even greater heights.”
Another member of the RUCC was Brian Mathibe. ‘I think I played well, better than I expected and I finished with more points than I was anticipating”.
He was also impressed with the way the tournament operated, saying that the coaches needed to be credited for helping the less experienced players put up a strong fight against their experienced opponents.
Rhodes’ best player was Mojalefa Motsepe who was involved in an 8-way tiebreak for third after finishing with four wins from five games. Throughout the tournament, he beat opponents who were ranked 30 and 500 points above him respectively.
He lost to the eventual winner in the last round and the highest ranked player, Kulasande. When he asked about his victories against the higher ranked opponents, his response saying; “It was a bit intimidating, but we went there with the intention to win, [which] helped a bit when [competing]”.
The trip to Alice was a fruitful one for the RUCC and hopefully it shall continue throughout the year.
Words by Ntuthuko Mlondo