Most sports in a country have a governing body that help them function. Here in South Africa the sporting body that governs the sport of chess is CHESS SA.

Chess is defined by many chess players and coaches as an art, sport and science. It has been debated whether chess should be called a sport, but chess is a sport because it involves competition; someone must win or lose.

Chess SA facilitates the administration, development and coordination of all the chess activities that happen in South Africa. This includes chess coaching, and the organising and playing of chess tournaments on all levels, including international, provincial, regional, club and school levels. Chess SA is involved from the grass roots level of chess, all the way to the elite level of chess. In addition, they work with all the chess members of the 9 provinces in South Africa. Chess SA do great work to promote chess in South Africa and they are getting better all the time.

What does Chess SA do for you as a chess player?

When you start playing chess tournaments you will not have a chess rating, which is an estimate of your playing strength as a chess player. You will start with an initial 0 rating. After playing at least 6 tournament chess games against chess players with a chess rating, you will get registered on the Chess SA website. Your first chess rating will be based on your performance in that tournament. This is the average rating of all the opponents you played in the tournament, which is adjusted by your final results in the tournament.

Once you have a chess rating and you start participating in more chess tournaments, all your games, the opponents you played against, and your chess results will be recorded on the Chess SA website. You can track your chess rating progress with a graph diagram that they insert on your profile.

Chess SA also helps you with opportunities to represent South Africa all over the world. The stronger you become the more opportunities you will get to represent South Africa in chess tournaments. If you get to represent South Africa at any level, Chess SA will give you chess colours for representing South Africa in chess tournaments. This will help you to become eligible for bursaries or scholarships.

How is Chess SA helping chess grow?

On a national level, Chess SA is helping chess grow by paying for an international chess grandmaster, Aleksa Strikovic to coach the South African national chess team.

Chess SA has been doing a great job with the South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC). In the last 3 years they have brought three international super chess grandmasters to help chess grow in South Africa and to inspire the junior chess players to work hard and hopefully become chess grandmasters in the future. GM Hikaru Nakamura from USA, GM Levon Aronian from Armenia and GM Wesley So from USA have been at three separate SAJCC events.

Wesley So Making His Move

Chess SA is taking big steps to grow chess in South Africa every year. They have invested a lot by getting an international chess grandmaster to coach the South African national chess team. They have taken big steps in the last three SAJCCs chess tournaments by getting three super chess grandmasters, one every year, to come and promote the growth of chess.

Are there ways that you think they can still improve?

As always keep chessing.

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