On 30 April 2021, the most prestigious tournament on Namibia’s chess calendar, the 2021 Namibia Chess Championships (Closed) got underway at the classy Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino and it concluded on 4 May 2021.
The Namibia Chess Federation—in partnership with the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino, 3D Printing, MNE Accounting Services, and Skybuild Constructions CC—organized the tournament with the aim of crowning the best chess players in the country; as well as determining who the national team players (Top 5) for this year will be.
This 9 round classical affair, held under strict Covid-19 regulations, was a magnet that attracted the best chess practitioners in the country, including recently titled International Master Dante Beukes and former 7-time National Champion, Candidate Master Charles Eichab.
The contest was divided into two sections, the Closed and B-Sections, which were further categorized into Open and Women’s Sections. The Closed section of the tournament was a Round Robin thriller which included other top guns like CM Mclean Handjaba and NM Goodwill Khoa.
Furthermore, there were rising stars Jossy Uapingene, Manfredo Goaseb, Ivan Boois, Bernhard Schwarz, Brian Jaftha, and Simon Mwanyangapo who battled it out for top honors in the Open section.
However, in the Women’s section, WCMs: Nicola Tjaronda, Lishen Mentile, Jamie-Nicole Beukes, WFM Rauha Shipindo, Keisha Van Wyk, as well as Lure Horn, Lilian Jansen, and Maria Niilenge had to wage war amongst themselves.
In the Closed Open Section, which was contested by ten (10) of Namibia’s most elite male players, IM Dante Beukes —by boasting a flawless 9/9 score—was like a despot, holding onto the number 1 throne with an iron fist from the onset of the tournament.
He left former champions NM Goodwill Khoa (6/9) and Charles Eichab (5.5/9) to contend themselves with 2nd and 3rd place respectively. CM Mclean Handjaba and Bernhard Schwarz rounded off the top 5.
In the Closed Women’s Section, WCM Lishen Mentile (6/7) secured her status as Namibia’s Chess Queen by beating her opponents to the top spot on the podium.
WFM Rauha Shipindo (5.5/7) gave Lishen a good run for her money, however, she had to settle for 2nd place, just coming in ahead of Keisha Van Wyk, who finished in 3rd place (5/7). Rounding off this category were: WCM Nicola Tjaronda (4/7) (4th place) and Maria Niilenge (3.5/7) (5th place).
The B-Section was a swiss system tournament that lured strong players—like former junior champions Christopher Ndoroma, Leonard Nghifikwa, Dudley Noreseb, and Montgomery Gurirab.
The category also had talents like Patience Tsuses, Justin Samalesu, Lazarus Shatipamba, Stefan Becker, Sibusiso Angula, Sam Iiputa, and his sister Suzan Iiputa.
The new kids on the block Roman Cyprian, Heyn Jadon, Haukongo Hedula, Nkonwenwa Naletti, Leiven Shilongo, Eino Shiweda, and Muundjua Mbahimwa were also welcomed to the Windhoek Country Club.
Everyone in this category was aspiring to win the section, so as to guarantee their spot in next year’s Closed section. Due to few females entering this section of the tournament, its Open, and Women’s sections had to be merged. Ensuring that it became more competitive. They were later separated in order to determine the winners of each group.
Although all did their best, there could only be one winner and this was Leonard Nghifikwa who won the Open category—sneaking past Justin Samalesu (2nd) who let go off his throttle in the last round.
He also finished ahead of Dudley Noreseb in 3rd—whilst Patience Tsuses (4/9) triumphed in the Women’s Section, placing ahead of Nkonkenwa Naletti (3/9) and Suzan Iiputa (1/9) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The 2021 Namibia Chess Championships (Closed) was successfully held at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino from 30 April to 4 May 2021. Many blunders were made, but they could not detract from the quality of chess that was on display.
The tournament brought together many strong chess players, but at the end of the day, the big winners were chess prodigy IM Dante Beukes and the lovely WCM Lishen Mentile who walked away with the wallet-watering prize money, as well as the ego-boosting titles of King and Queen of Namibian chess for the year 2021.
B-Section winners Leonard Nghifikwa and Patience Tsuses will get their shot at dethroning these two at next year’s Closed. This year, however, they—together with those who made it into the national team— will be tasked to represent Namibia well on a continental and global level.
Africa Chess Media wishes them all the best!
NB! Images courtesy of Namibia Chess Federation