FM Kenny SolomonandIM Watu Kobeseshared 1st place at the South African Closed tournament with 8-3 scores. Solomon was the only player in the tournament with an undefeated score and was declared the winner of tiebreaks. IM David Gluckman placed second with 7˝-3˝ after drawing his last two rounds. There was an interesting scenario brewing as Kobese and Solomon prepared to face to each other in the last round.
Gluckman could've made things quite tense with a win over Yury Aronov in the penultimate 10th round. After Gluckman-Aronov resulted in a draw, Kobese-Solomon only needed to draw to clinch a tie for 1st… which is exactly what happened. Finishing in the top three positions, Solomon, Kobese and Gluckman win the right to represent South Africa in the 2004 Olympiad in Spain.
At 23, Solomon combines tenacity with fighting spirit and hopes to get more international exposure in the coming years. Solomon impressed players at the Wilbert Paige tournament with his endurance averaging… 62 moves in nine games! The newly-crowned champion will represent South Africa in the African Championships in August.