Young Namibian Chess Masters Win Gold

The Namibian junior chess team scooped 11 gold medals at the Menlo Park International Chess Tournament held in South Africa recently, to finally erase their 2009 woes that saw the youngsters return home empty handed.

Namibia last played in the tournament five years ago when the team performance was very dismal. Charles Eichab who doubled as head coach and team manager said: “The 2009 result actually served us well. It showed us areas in which we should continue to work. Our resounding victory now is evident that lessons were well learned. All stakeholders should partake in this victory.”

The team composed of 12 players between the ages of 11 and 20, who all managed to complete the tournament in clinical fashion. The Menlo Park International Chess Tournament is a team event where individual scores are aggregated to determine the winning team for each match.

Leading the charge on board one was Immanuel Gariseb who managed to win all his three matches without any real difficulty. William Kamberipa also overcame a minor scare in round one where he had a hard time formulating a winning plan.

Matjiua Kajovi also had no burden scoring on board three. On boards four and five were Lishen Mentile and Nicola Tjaronda, who were the only girls in the team and also the only surviving members of the 2009 team. Their experience shone through as they managed to win all their games. Playing on boards six and seven were Isaskar Hamaseb and Mutago Hochobeb who both collected gold on their respective boards.

Mubasen Hochobeb who is the National U14 champ made the easiest of starts when he won by way of a fool’s mate. Fool’s mate is the fastest way to win in chess as it just takes 2 moves to complete.

Carried away by the easy start, Mubasen lost his next match and with that also his gold medal place on board eight. He, however, recovered to win his third game, securing a silver medal. On boards nine through to twelve played Aldo Horn, Dante Beukes, Kefilwe Kajovi and Kevin Gurirab who are all primary school learners. They collected full points on their respective boards.

Namibia won by a resounding 35 out of a possible 36 points. In second place were multiple SA school champs Menlo Park Primary School with 18.5 points. A team drawn from several Mamelodi schools came in 3rd place with 9.5 points and Eduplex School in last place with eight points.

Fremantle Kuhanga, assistant coach who also accompanied the team said: “This was indeed good exposure for our players and we can now confidently look forward to the World Youth Championships in Durban, South Africa, later this year.”

Source : New Era