Daniel Cawdery wins South African Championship

IM Daniel Cawdery won his second national title by edging out the field of contemporaries including former national champions and the country’s lone Grandmaster. The tournament took place May 7-14, 2022 in the Newlands Cricket Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

GM Kenny Solomon vs. IM Daniel Cawdery (2022 South African Championship)
GM Kenny Solomon and IM Daniel Cawdery
with a nice backdrop of the cricket pitch. They drew.
Photo by Lyndon Bouah.

Cawdery tallied 6/8 as did FM Banele Mhango, but he won their head-to-head encounter.

Cawdery clinched the crown in the last round after drawing after nine moves with four-time champion IM Watu Kobese. In the third position was GM Kenny Solomon with 5.5 points losing only to defending champion FM Daniel Barrish. Barrish came in 4th with 5/8 followed by Kobese, who finished in 5th on 4/8. The “African Lion” will have to play his way on another Olympiad team in a qualifier.

According to Dr. Lyndon Bouah writing for Kenya Chess Masala, Cawdery and Mhango qualify for the Olympiad team while the rest have to earn a position through a qualifier.

In the women’s event, a surprising result was turned in by 15-year-old Chloe Badenhorst who scored 5/7. Entering the tournament, she was a modest 1585 Elo and faced two-time defending champion in Women’s International Master Jesse Nikki February.

GM Kenny Solomon vs. IM Daniel Cawdery (2022 South African Championship)
Chloe Badenhorst (middle) posing with championship trip trophy and flanked by
Jesse February, Chief Arbiter Hendrik du Toit and Tournament Director Dr. Omar Esau.

The South African chess community had been gripped in a messy political situation, but with the Olympiad approaching, there seems be a calming of waters, so to speak. The National Championship had been held since 1892 and every other year since 2001. Last year’s event was not held due to the political turmoil that was covered widely and required mediation (legal case, interview with Du Toit). However, this year, the team will be readying for the marquee event in Chennai, India beginning in late July.

Results: https://chess-results.com/tnr634244.aspx?lan=1&art=1
Chess.com: https://www.chess.com/cs/events/2022-south-african-chess-championships-open

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