Fide Master (FM) Leonhard Mueller became the 2014 Namibian Chess Champion of the open section whilst 16 year old Nicola Tjaronda once again took her rightful place as the Namibian Women’s Chess Champion.
The NCF forked out more than 10 000 to host the annual event in capital and used this platform to select the male and female National Teams to represent the country at the World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway in August and with all being well to also represent Namibia at the 2015 All Africa Games in the Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
The women’s section embraced an all-play-all system known as a round-robin where all the ladies had to face each other in a scuffle to the top three spots.
Lishen Mentile came in 2nd place following Tjaronda while new girl on the block, Toshi Haufiku managed to secure her first ever 3rd spot win at the Nationals. All three ladies made it into the Women’s National Team together with Kamutuua Tjatindi who came in fourth spot.
Junior players at the event also battled it out for top honors with Matjiua Kajovi clinching the top spot, followed by William Kamberipa and Immanuel Gariseb respectfully.
Mueller took the spotlight in the open section from last year’s champion and tournament favorite Goodwill Khoa after an early triumph in round 2. This led to Mueller finishing with an amazing fit of 7 wins, one draw and only one defeat in the ninth round of the 5 day long chess tournament during the Easter break.
The new champion crushed all his opponents from the first round and remained unopposed in the driving seat for most of the tournament before drawing with former Namibian Champion and 3rd place runner up Max Nitzborn and only losing to McLean Handjaba in the last round.
His last round loss had no influence on the total tally however as Mueller was already the winner of the tournament after his clean sweep in round 8 against former National team player Simon Shidolo.
Mueller holds one of very few FIDE titles in the country and is currently the only Namibian Fide Master and has one of the highest chess ratings in the country; 2191. A Swiss lawyer by profession, the new champion said that it is always an honor for him to fly back to Namibia from his current home in Wettingen, Switzerland to part-take in the National tournament.
“This was one of the strongest nationals I’ve ever played and I am happy to see chess growing in leaps and bounds in Namibia,” he said after receiving his gold trophy and cash prize of N$3000.00.
Fascinatingly, the open section winner and both 2nd and 3rd place runner-ups at this year’s Nationals are all former Namibian Chess Champions and have all represented Namibia at an international level in the past.
In 2nd place at the tournament was a familiar face in Namibian chess, Candidate Master (CM) Charles Eichab who recently won the Arandis Open Tournament and the 1st Leg of the Chess Grand Prix earlier this year.
Following Eichab, in 3rd place is another veteran player and the former President of the Namibia Chess Federation (NCF) Max Niztborn, who vowed to make a return into the National team after missing out at a chance to represent Namibia in at the Chess Olympiad Istanbul, Turkey in 2012.
Tournament director Fremantle Kuhanga applauded all the participants that took part at the prestigious tournament especially those that travelled from outside Windhoek and encouraged more parents to enroll their children into chess programs to help build a larger foundation and database of Namibian chess players. He also urged more females to take-part in chess as it regrettably still remains one of the many male dominated sport codes in the country.
The Men’s National team still has two open spot after Mueller, Eichab and Nitzborn sealed off the first 3. To fill up the 5 men team, the NCF will be hosting a selectional tournament with the top eight from the nationals, where the overall winner of that tournament will occupy the fourth spot on the team. The fifth player will be selected by the NCF at its discretion.
For future events or any enquiries contact the NCF public relations officer; McLean Handjaba (firstname.lastname@example.org).