It was a week of firsts for the 2009 SA Chess Open. Amon Simutowe, a 27 year old Zambian chess player, won the 2009 SA Chess Open on 11 July, and became the first FIDE Grandmaster in sub-Saharan Africa in the same week. The SA Open was also the first FIDE rated tournament to include online matches.
The SA Open 2009, sponsored by ChessCube, was the strongest SA Open ever, with 5 International Masters and 3 Grandmasters competing. For chess players, the tournament also featured FIDE rated online matches with three participants joining in from Australia.
Although Grandmaster Gawain Jones led the tournament for several rounds, playing all of his matches online using ChessCube’s live chess platform, it was the 27 year old Zambian Amon Simutowe who took home the title.
“The SA Open 2009 demonstrated that online matches are viable and such participants will become increasingly common in over the board tournaments,” says Mark Levitt, CEO and founder of ChessCube. “It was very encouraging to see the enthusiastic participation of the players in this chess tournament world first.”
Chess is truly a sport that brings people from around the world together. Grandmaster Simutowe has travelled to over 40 countries playing chess, and the SA Open 2009 saw participants from over 14 countries converge on Cape Town to compete. Although ChessCube is based out of South Africa, it boasts users from over 200 countries. While chess has always enabled top players to travel the world to play matches, the Internet now allows players from anywhere on the globe to play each other online.
All information, results, and standings at the ChessCube blog.