Chess For All Challenge in South Africa

by Graham Jurgensen
2/25/2014 – This weekend there was an unusual chess tournament in South Africa, sponsored by a movie production and the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa. It was run by Reuben Salimu and his African Chess Lounge, a community project that is doing extraordinary work in Cape Town. The ACL even taught chess to 360 inmates of a rehabilitation centre. Pictorial report by Graham Jurgensen.

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Chess For All Challenge

By Graham Jurgensen

This weekend contestants took part in the Chess For All Challenge held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Prizes and free entry for disadvantaged players were supplied by Four Corners and the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa.

The event was won by the current South African Closed Champion FM Donovan Van Den Heever, second was IM Watu Kobese and third Place Provincial Master Daudi Amini.

Tournament winner FM Donovan Van Den Heever (middle), with Reuben Salimu and Railien Nelson

Winners in the senior section: Organiser Reuben Salimu, Donovan Van Den Heever, Kaylin Fritz,
Daud Amini, Veroe Septmeber, Watu Kobese, Virgil Fritz, Railien Nelson (CPUT Sports Director)

Winners in the junior section: Waheeb Abrahams, Zinedeane Kemp,
Sutukazi Nonkilana, Chad Petersen and Vallentino Mavosa

Best girl Kaylin Fritz

Reuben Salimu is the owner of African Chess Lounge, a development and chess promotion organization in Cape Town. Here are some pictures to give you an impression of the activities of the Lounge.

Chrystalis Academy is a rehabilitation, skills and leadership school which includes chess as part of the program. Reuben Salimu sponsored two three-month seasons but could not maintain it as it cost him R10,000 per term. "The impact was magnificent and we always hoped some corporate would see value in it," says Reuben, "but it has not happened yet."

One group of the total of 360 people that the ACL taught chess in six months

Chess on the street in the city of Cape Town

An ACL Chess Tent. People randomly sit down and are taught chess on the spot, or they play a match

Happy to meet TV Producer for her favorite TV show, Armageddon Chess Challenge (see below)

Demonstration of advantages of higher ground on the chessboard at a chess clinic...

... with students eager to answer questions in the Central Library Cape Town

Junior Chess Club opened at the Central Library, with donated sets from Chess Western Province

An ACL Student already adept at using Fritz at five years of age –
he finished with 5/6 at a recent junior championship (his second tournament)

Armageddon Chess Challenge Episode 1

Reuben Salimu is also the producer of the chess TV show Armageddon:

Chess in 30 Minutes by Reuben Salimu is a tutorial book for anyone who wants to learn chess from scratch or anyone who already knows a bit but is not so sure. Full of diagrams to take you step by step through the process of how the pieces move and a basic idea of the goal of the game.

The book is available at Amazon, Lulu, iTunes and other places. It has been popular in the US Market, and a lot of schools locally have been obtaining the hardcopy for introducing little ones to the game.

Four Corners is a coming of age thriller about six days in the life of Ricardo, a young chess whiz kid on the Cape Flats. The film uses the analogy of chess to help Ricardo strategise for survival in the midst of a neighborhood turf war where his story weaves through the stories of four different adults. Its a story about a young boy and his father in tough times trying to make good.

More about the film in the second part
of this report, which will follow soon...


Graham Jurgensen is the Executive Director of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant by profession and held senior financial positions in South Africa before joining the Kasparov Chess Foundation in a full time capacity in June 2014.


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