BATTLEFIELD: Evasan Chettiar, 2nd year BEng represented South Africa at the World Chess Championships held in Poland last week.  He is pictured taking on an opponent during the 4th round of the competition.  Photo: Provided

BATTLEFIELD: Evasan Chettiar, 2nd year BEng represented South Africa at the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week. He is pictured taking on an opponent during the 4th round of the competition. Photo: Provided

A number of Witsies helped to land the South African chess team on the 13th spot overall at the World University Chess Championships in Katowice, Poland, last week.

Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLB,and 2nd year BEng student, Evasan Chettiar, were faced with tough competition, but helped to improve South Africa’s overall international ranking.

Tough competition

“The tournament was the toughest tournament I’ve played in my whole life.  I played World Juniors in 2008, but oh my word, it was nothing like that,” said Tlale, the only female in the team, said.  She started the tournament with the lowest rating of 0 but ended with a rating close to 1600.

THINKER: Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLb was the only female in a team of four students representing South Africa in the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week.  She is pictured in the first round of the competition.  Photo: Provided

THINKER: Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLB was the only female in a team of four students representing South Africa in the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week. She is pictured in the first round of the competition. Photo: Provided

“We discovered that South Africans were underrated and we performed well above our national ratings,” said Chettiar, who scored the highest in the men’s section, amongst his South African teammates.

His male teammates from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and North West University scored half a point below him.

Overall, team South Africa’s ratings were below 1800.  “Over there, our performances were above 2000, and that’s good in chess,” he said.

Tlale and Chettiar were exposed to competitors of different cultures, which added to the value of their experience.  Besides learning new techniques to aid their game, they also made new friends from Japan, Switzerland and France and learnt a bit of Polish.

Polished technique

“There’s a lot of stuff I changed about my personal play that  I think I can even  bring back home and start playing at that level and that style,” said Tlale.

“We learnt how to take advantage of opening mistakes and how to avoid making opening mistakes,” said Chettiar.

“If we could keep up to par internationally, maybe we will do better nationally and locally”

Wits Sports officer TebogoRabothata is looking forward to the contribution Tlale and Chettiar will make to the chess club.

“Their fellow players would also want to up their game,” and possibly “emulate them” which would help the club get more sponsorships in the near future.

“It will actually help the young players going forward,” he said.

Tlale and Chettiar hope to inspire their teammates by incorporating more online tournaments and touring.  They are both nominees for full Blue Cum Laude colours and Sportswoman and Sportsman of this year’s Sports Awards, respectively.

Given “home-ground advantage”, according to Tlale, Poland took the first place in the tournament, followed by Russia and Armenia.

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