Johannes Mabusela has been crowned king of the Open Chess tournament in Kimberley this weekend.

The South African Open Chess Festival concluded with chess players from South Africa and neighbouring countries battling it out for the ultimate top spot.

The festival is touted as one of the biggest championships in the country. Pretoria’s Johannes Mabula says he practiced hard to reach this milestone.

“Basically I feel relieved because I worked hard for this tournament and being first time winning the SA open because currently I’m the SA tours champion. So this is what I was actually looking forward to. I practised hard for this, so I am relieved. The idea is to work on whatever you want to achieve, if you want to be like me, win tournaments like these and be like me, there are no shortcuts unfortunately, you just have to work hard.”

Youngest competitor, 10-year-old Jorah Soojay, clinched the title in the under 13 Championships.

He has now qualified to compete at the World Schools Chess tournament to be held in South America.

“You must all play young and start chess and also receive help and get a coach, with God’s grace ýou can do very well.”

Despite the success of the tournament, it is not without challenges.

Joe Mahomole, President of Chess South Africa says: “The current challenges I’m talking about are issues of funding and also of leadership. I’m speaking to you as national president who is being challenged by others to take over leadership of Chess SA next week. On Saturday we are going for elections so we are not worried. We are saying anybody can contest for the leadership of Chess SA as long as the agenda is important, the agenda of taking chess to the people.”

Chess South Africa’s next major tournament, the closed tournament, will be held in September this year.