Honours even at Kehat Beukes tournament

DRAW … Jemusse Zhemba (left) and Kamutuua Tjatindi locked in a draw at the recent final of the Bank Windhoek Kehat Beukes Legacy Chess Tournament held at Swakopmund. Photo: Adam Hartman

The final round of the open section of the annual Bank Windhoek Kehat Beukes Legacy Chess Tournament at Swakopmund reached a tense conclusion on Sunday as Jemusse Zhemba and Kamutuua Tjatindi, the champions of the open and women’s sections, respectively, ended in a draw.

This year’s event was not just testament to the game’s growing popularity in Namibia, but also a tribute to the late Dr Kehat Beukes, a pioneering figure in Namibian chess and medicine, says the Namibia Chess Federation’s Charles Eichab.

“Since its inception in 1994, the tournament has become a beacon of chess in Namibia. It’s one of the biggest tournaments in Namibia,” says Eichab.

This year’s tournament saw 64 players across various sections competing in a nine-round Swiss system. The open section, the championship’s crown jewel, was a fierce battleground.

Zhemba emerged victorious, with Dion Moyo and Heskiel Ndahangwapo following in second and third place, respectively.

In the women’s section, Tjatindi stood out as the champion, with LutopuKhoa and Keisha van Wyk securing the second and third spots.

The youth section saw Dawid du Toit taking the first place, followed by Musa Munyere and Junior Heita.

The cadet section (under 12) was dominated by Christiaan Cronje, with Shadah Uanguta and Pineas Mweya placing second and third.

“The performances of these young ones are a promising glimpse into the future of chess in Namibia,” says Eichab.

The seniors (50 plus years) was won by Bernhard von Seydlitz, against John Sheldon, who was the runner-up.

The tournament’s success, according to Eichab, is not just in the numbers, but in the spirit of the game.

“It’s our plan to attract more players from outside Namibia,” he said, referencing some players from Botswana who did well in this year’s tournament.

According to Eichab, the Kehat Beukes tournament is important in spurring the development of chess in Namibia, which has had a good year.

About a month ago, Bank Windhoek announced a sponsorship of N$500 000 toward the Namibian Chess Federation for the promotion of the sport.

The federation got a further boost of about N$287 000 from the Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) Foundation towards its participation in the 2023 International Chess Federation World Cadet Championships, held in October.

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