Witsies who represented South Africa at the World University Chess Championships in Katowice, Poland, last week, returned having placed South Africa in 13th.
Second year LLb student, Seadimo Tlale and 2nd year BEng student, Evasan Chettiar, chairperson of the club, were faced with tough competition, but managed to improve South Africa’s international ranking.
“The tournament was the toughest tournament I’ve played in my whole life. I played World Juniors in 2008, but oh my word, it was nothing like that,” Tlale, the only female in the South African team, said. She was given a rating of 0 at the start of the tournament and ended with a rating close to 1600.
“We discovered that South Africans were underrated and we performed well above our national ratings,” said Chettiar, who scored the highest in the men’s section, amongst his South African teammates. His male teammates from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and North West University scored half a point below him.
South Africa’s ratings were below 1800. “Over there, our performances were above 2000, and that’s good in chess,” he said.
Tlale and Chettiar were exposed to competitors of different cultures, which added to the value of their experience. Besides learning new techniques to aid their game, they also made new friends from Japan, Switzerland and France and learnt a bit of Polish.
“There’s a lot of stuff I changed about my personal play that I think I can even bring back home and start playing at that level and that style,” said Tlale.
“We learnt how to take advantage of opening mistakes and how to avoid making opening mistakes,” said Chettiar.
If we could keep up to par internationally, maybe we will do better nationally and locally.
Both of them are confident in what they learnt on their trip. “I feel like I can take on any national tournament now,” said Tlale.
Chettiar described their national competition as “easy“ in comparison to their Poland experience.
“If we could keep up to par internationally, maybe we will do better nationally and locally,” he said.
Wits Sports officer TebogoRabothata is looking forward to the contribution Tlale and Chettiar will make to the chess club.
“Their fellow players would also want to up their game,” and possibly “emulate them” which would help the club get more sponsorships in the near future. “It will actually help the young players going forward,” he said.
Tlale and Chettiar hope to inspire their teammates by incorporating more online tournaments and touring. Tlale and Chettiar hope to inspire their teammates by incorporating more online tournaments and touring. They are both nominees for full Blue Cum Laude colours and Sportswoman and Sportsman of this year’s Sports Awards, respectively.
Given “home-ground advantage”, according to Tlale, Poland took the first place, followed by Russia and Armenia.
This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela