By Dudu Saki
The Sewelo Maths and Chess Community Youth Academy hosted a gripping Schools Chess Tournament at the Nombulelo Secondary School hall on 25 March. The participants lined up in front of the aptly set hall, anticipating the call for their sections to enter.
The schools that participated in the tournament were the Andrew Moyake School of Excellence, GADRA Matric School, Kutliso Daniels Secondary, Nombulelo Secondary, Ntsika Secondary, Mary Waters, St Andrew’s College, George Dickerson, Makana Primary, N.V. Cewu Primary, and Samuel Ntlebi Primary.
The set was awe-inspiring with row upon row of chairs, set two per table facing each other. There was a captivating aura of contrast with the juxtaposition of the black and white of the board and chess pieces and the colourful flags on the wall just below a mural of the late former President Nelson Mandela.
Buntu Tshomela and Cikizwa Tshomela, parents to Grade 8 pupil Lwande Tshomela, had driven all the way from Gqeberha to watch their son play his debut tournament in Makhanda. Tshomela said it was important for parents to support their children in events.
“We want him to have a healthy mind in a healthy body. Initially, we wanted him to play an active sport so that he could be fit and stuff. But again, mental health is also very important. Thinking is good because it is always something that one must do, and chess encourages thinking out of the box,” Buntu Tshomela added excitedly.
An air of competitiveness exuded from the participants, young and old alike. The young ones were speeding to the competition area with much zest, whereas the older learners possessed an air of professionalism with their gait. Participant Oyisa Vena, a learner from Nombulelo Secondary school, said that he started playing chess in 2022 and realised that he had the skill to win.
This was his debut tournament from which he had his first win. Vena said that he wished the winners could play against other chess champions from places like Johannesburg.
Coach Jerry Sewelo, who organised the event, told Grocott’s Mail that he had registered the academy with the Sarah Baartman District Chess Union. This move “opens doors to our local learners to participate in the district trials and have an opportunity to be selected to the provincial and national teams,” Sewelo said.
One of their immediate objectives was to see all chess players in Makhanda registered on the database of Chess South Africa and the District Association so that they could play chess formally with recognised chess credentials.
“The tournament at Nombulelo was a first huge step towards that goal, as we managed to register all players who participated on the CHESSA database. We will continue holding tournaments around Makhanda with the same aim in mind,” Sewelo added.
He said principals or educators who wish to see chess being established at their schools could contact him, and he would send a coach to their school, free of charge.
“Learners who wish to join us can find us at the Assumption Development Centre in Joza, where we hold coaching sessions every Saturday between 10 am and noon. We would like to acknowledge our competition sponsor, Mr Kgosi Rahube and The Learning Trust, for their continued support in ensuring that our after-school learner programme becomes a success, through their various mentorship programmes,” said Sewelo.
The results of the tournament are as follows:
Section A (Senior)
- Andy Holmes (St Andrews College)
- Tywakadi Similo (Cewu Primary Teacher assistant)
- Noah McIntosh (St Andrews College)
- Lisakhanya Diamond (GADRA)
- Patson Gosha (St Andrews College)
- Turvey Rolo (St Andrews College)
Section B (Intermediate)
- Viwe Ndamase (Nombulelo)
- Mcoseli Sange (Nombulelo)
- Lihlombe Nkinane (Ntsika)
- Bayolwe Nikelo (Samuel Ntlebi)
- Zenande Skere (Ntsika)
- Aviwe Ngantweni (Nombulelo)
Best Female – Section B – Iyakhala Dondashe
Section C (Junior)
- Someleze Ngcete (Cewu)
- Thimna Kosi (Cewu)
- Image Fatyela (George Dickerson)
- Angamahle Nonxuba (Cewu)
- Omolemo Sewelo (SEMCCYA -Preschool)
- Yamkela Fejela (Makana)
Best Female – Section C – Asomeleze Ndzawumbi