The Beginning

It was in November 1976 that 4 high school students came together in Kalksteenfontein a suburb of Bonteheuwel and started playing the odd game against each other. Later in 1977 they decided to form a club. By this time the number had grown to 6.The first members of the club were: Nazeem Majiet (also the first Chairperson), Ebrahim Ortell, Mark Lewis, Jeremy Lewis, Andrew Talmarkes and Norman Macqueen. The first club competition held was won by Norman Macqueen.

Mark Lewis then met Roland Willenberg at Spes Bona High School. This meeting was to be a turning point in the history of the club. Since then the name Willenberg has been synonymous with Steinitz. With the injection of new players came the need to become more structured and in 1978 Steinitz set about having a full blooded competition. Players like Andrew Martin, Raymond Rosenberg and Ivan Fortune also joined and soon we were 13 players.

The Lewis brothers quickly put down their stamp of theoreticians, Mark by being the first player to win the club championship three times in a row, the first one without a loss. Jeremy went on to win at school level and later on was to be the youngest player at the time to have won all the WP titles in a single year.

In 1979 Steinitz joined the Western Province Chess Association. The political struggle in the country was rife in our formative years. As an affiliate of Sacos we believed that as sportspersons we had a role to play in the struggle.

It was clear that the players had a fierce competitive nature about them. This brought about constant practising, challenges and soon our favourite pastime, blitz came through.

We soon commanded respect when in only our second year of joining we were to win the WPCA League. We were to win this fiercely contested competition 4 more times. Our chief arch rivals were the Manyanani chess club who boasted the SA and WP champions and had the highest rated players. It was in one of these encounters when boyish enthusiasm was displayed when our club for the first time conquered this formidable team. Mark Lewis upset the over 2000 rated player Gordon Lawrence with a swashbuckling display of aggression.

The camaraderie and strong bond of the players grew firmer because of hardships endured together. Having no transport for away games we often footslogged 10 to 15 kilometres to venues. In 1989 we won the CAPSA National team’s award in Durban. With the political changes coming about in 1991 we prompted the move away from WPCA and became instrumental in Unifying Chess in S.A.

Administrative Support & Development

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Our club believes that we need to support our mother body not only over the board but also by providing the needed skills in administration. Lyndon Bouah, Mark Lewis and Roland Willenberg have all been elected to senior posts. Our club has always embarked on development in the disadvantaged communities. Many examples of this can be quoted, but most notable of this project is the results of a Guguletu player Kwanda Kaso who in 1999 beat the likes of Jonathan Gluckman to win the WP Open.

The club presently provides coaching to schools on a weekly basis. In addition the club has recently started a junior group of talented individuals who will be groomed by seasoned club chess players.

At Present

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After 30 years of chess, it is pleasing to say that most of our pioneers are still actively involved in the running of our club and we still have contact with most members that have been with the club. Our competitive spirit has been unabated and we command respect as the top club in WP.

Since being with the newly formed Chess WP (1992) we have won the Premier Division an unprecedented six times (1993, 1998, 2002,2003 and 2006 and 2009). In blitz chess competitions we are unopposed having won the competition 12 out of 13 times. The strength and depth of the club is noticeable at most competitions since nearly all our players have won titles over the years. The players do not shirk to challenge one another. They all believe that they can take on anyone.

The turn of the new millennium in 2000 proved to be good omen for us when we had 3 WP Open Champions; viz; Lyndon Bouah, Mark Lewis and Kenny Willenberg all having tied for first place with 6/7. Our players have in recent years excelled and have won numerous individual titles.

In recent years the dominant Steinitz players winning events has been Tinto, Calvin, Kenny, Craig Athon and Lyndon.

Interprovincial Activity

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A proud relationship has been established over a period spanning 10 years with the Alekhine Chess club of Port Elizabeth. Over the last ten years Steinitz and Alekhine have contested an annual match on a home and away basis. This is the only known interclub match that is played over one weekend involving 1500km of travel. Steinitz has the upperhand in the keen struggle but the Alekhine players are always ready with their guns blazing.

Steinitz has also been the flag bearer for WP at the Chessa Interclub Championship and in 2002 was the runner-up in the event while in 2003 it won the event and in 2006 it was the runner-up again! In 2008 and 2009 Steinitz again won the National Club Championship of South Africa.

International Stage

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On the international arena our players have also shown their mettle. Lyndon Bouah has represented South Africa at the Olympiad level since 1992 and has played for South Africa at numerous African competitions. He is a constant competitor at the SA Closed. Craig Willenberg at the young age of 9 represented South Africa at the World Youth Championships in Spain in 1996.He finished 43 out of 121 countries. Kenny Willenberg during September 2000 represented South Africa on board one in the Ukraine Children’s Olympiad.He tied for 3rd place .This was an extremely tough competition with all the most promising Russian juniors participating. Both Kenny and Craig have gone on to play in various international competitions since then.

The club has also seen Deon Solomons lead South Africa at the 1992 and 1994 Olympiads whilst in recent years Calvin Klaasen has been representing SA abroad. A number of players have also played for the Club at club level such as Woman International Masters Jenine Ellappen, Anzel Solomons and Denise Frick.

Steinitz Chess Festival

About

There was the initial debate on what our name should be. Some members mooted for the name Bonteheuwel chess club but thanks to the visionary foresight the players agreed to the name Steinitz. Ardent chess historians will know that Wilhelm Steinitz was the first officially recognised World Champion. It goes without saying that to date that the club has been pioneers in many aspects both on the board and off it. Read more...

Contact


President:  Mark Lewis
Vice President & Head Coach:  Roland Willenberg
Club Captain:  Dr Lyndon Bouah
Finance Director:  Olivia Hardy
Youth Director & Web Master:  Leon de Jager
Communications:  Shaun Willenberg
Community Development Officer:  Andrew Talmarkes