Kobese wins S. Africa Open!

IM Watu Kobese at 2008 South Africa Open.

IM Watu Kobese at 2008 South Africa Open
Photo by Gauteng North Chess Union.

The “African Lion” IM Watu Kobese won the South African Open with a staggering 9.5/11 (+8). At one stage he had eight wins in a row and was only cooled by a draw to IM Thomas Rendle. IM Kenny Solomon came in second on 9/11 with losses to Kobese and Rendle. See Results


  1. Kenny Solomon is one of the most likable chess players I know. He played in the 2001 World Open and the Wilbert Paige Memorial and his calm demeanor was a nice complement to his indomitable fighting spirit on the chess board. At the Wilbert Paige, his average game lasted 62 moves… in nine rounds of chess! He was the only one to beat Stephen Muhammad, who won the tournament. I have met him at the past two Olympiads and he always greets me with the South African, “Howzit!”

    I met Watu Kobese at the Wilbert Paige, but I knew of him for a long time. His games are very interesting and hard to characterize. He is definitely an aggressive player, but he has a strong understanding of chess and has beaten Peter Leko and Judit Polgar. He can be a bit emotional at times which may affect his play.

    I remember when he played Solomon at the Wilbert Paige and failed to convert a pawn up ending after more than 100 moves and almost seven hours of play. He was visibly upset and stormed out after signing the scoresheet. He was also visibly upset at losing to Muhammad during the analysis session. This man has GM written all over him, but he has suffered from the lack of international competition. He has competed in the FIDE World Championship cycle three times.

  2. Watu stayed with me for a few days, he was content to look at my NIC magazines and explore Bed-Stuy and weeksville in his off time. His achievement is more remarkable in that hewas an IM without internet access or data base usage.


  3. Hello Daaim,
    is it possible to have Watus games published from the SA Open? I am particularly interested in his games against Kenny Solomon, Thomas Rendle,Nicholas van der Nat and J Steenkamp.

    Thank you

  4. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any of the games. That’s one of the main problems of most African tournaments… the game scores are rarely made available. I suppose inputting the games is a very tedious process indeed!

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